by Jo Michaels
Publication date: January 8th 2014
Genre: Horror, Zombies
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
Trixie Collins is a normal teen making her way through high school. One night at a party, a boy comes on to her and won’t take no for an answer. As she jerks her arm away, his fingernails cut into her skin.
When she finds her dog’s mutilated body and realizes she’s to blame, she starts to think maybe the zombie apocalypse they’ve been screaming about on the news isn’t a hoax after all. Worse, she begins to think maybe she’s one of the infected.
Now it’s a fight for life as she joins together with her brethren to stop the humans intent on destroying them. Are zombies all bad, or is it just a huge misunderstanding?
So, You Wanna Write a Zombie Novel
by Jo Michaels
Zombies. We know them. We love them. We want to be them.
Let’s try that again!
Zombies. We know them. We love them. We want to smash their heads in.
Better, no? *grin*
If you’re a writer and love zombies, you’ve probably considered writing your own z-poc novel. This little post is gonna talk about that very thing: Writing a captivating zombie novel that’ll stand out amongst the crowd. We’ll talk about the core element of the zombie novel, POV decisions, how to give your novel that unique brain flavor, and how to research possible outbreak causes that haven’t been done to death (pardon my puns).
At the end of the post, Toni, my gracious host *waves to Toni*, will give you a chance to win a copy of my zombie novel. Stay with us until we get there, eh?
*rubs hands together* Great! Grab a cup of coffee, get situated in a comfortable position for reading (and, later, clicking), and let’s get this party started!
First up: Why we read zombie novels and love them more than other kinds of monster tales.
If you read a ton of zombie lore, you’ll know you’re always drawn to the story of the zombie more than that of the vampire, werewolf, or other paranormal creature. But do you understand why? Sure, zombie novels are heavy on the horror and gore (some blood and death is a must), and that may float your boat, but they’re also centric with the force of the human element. Every [good] zombie novel takes a nosedive into human instinct, survival, and emotions. Not to mention the fear that we could all be turned into the walking dead in a flash if an outbreak were to occur. There’s folk tales that speak of the walking dead more than any other affliction or paranormal coincidence. So, that fear residing deep inside you is realized on the pages of a z-poc novel more so than any other genre.
Sure, vampires are creepy, bite you, and turn you into a creature that craves blood and can only go out at night; but the chances of an epidemic (or pandemic) are slim to none. Same with werewolves.
Zombies are a whole other breed. Because the virus is usually transmitted via the air, a bite, or a scratch, there’s a much higher chance something could infect you if an apocalypse happened. Besides, there’s a few hundred vamps or wolves, there are hundreds of thousands of zombies. Sheer numbers would be enough to make you poop your pants.
This is part of the core fear lodged in every tale concerning the living dead.
But there’s more.
We get a chance to see how people interact with one another, and how they might grow strong or break under the pressure of their friends and family members turning into shuffling, drooling, flesh-eating monsters. Like Jason Voorhees, these creatures walk slow, never tire, and always catch prey.
I’m a huge student of human nature. People fascinate the crap out of me. I can usually tell how a person will react in any given situation if I’m allowed a little bit of time to get to know them beforehand. However, if you throw in a zombie? I’d be stumped but for a few situations: Mother protecting child, Father protecting child, Father protecting Mother. Those, I’d win 90 out of 100 times I put down a bet on what would happen.
As a writer, you get to flip that on its head if you choose to. Show a weakness in Dad, Mom, or neighbor Bob. Use that tool to your advantage.
A word of warning: The best fiction is based in fact. So, try to keep it real while spinning your bullsh!t. *grin*
Delve into the study of humans, and you’ll be well on your way to writing that novel.
Blog posts you might find helpful:
On to the second thing you’ll have to think about when crafting your tale: point of view (POV).
Now, you may choose to use an unreliable narrator so you can dig up some fun giving false information to the reader. That can be a hoot! Choose carefully, because you never know when that character might decide to know more than they’re letting on.
Options for a unique POV include:
*someone with a disability
*someone with an incurable disease
Those are just a few. You should make your own list and see what you can come up with! Writing should be fun.
Choosing a unique POV can also be the key to giving your story that unique flavor it needs. Doing something different with the plot is a whole other banana. As you write your story, give it a few twists and turns when you can. Don’t always let that person escape the clutches of the walking dead, let the character be eaten or turned once in a while. Keep it fresh, and keep your audience guessing what might happen next! Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of boring. Is your character in peril? Give them a distinctive way to make it out of the situation (check out survivalist websites or blogs to get new ideas).
When you’re looking for the thing causing the outbreak, don’t limit your mind. Be open. Watch programs on zombies, seek out the lore history, dive into a medical journal, or ask people what they think will cause the z-pocalypse. You’d be surprised how many ideas people have about what we humans should be cautious of.
I got the idea for I, Zombie from the History Channel. When World War Z hit the big screens, there was a zombie special on that channel. You better believe I watched it.
Jot them all down. You never know what will pique your interest later on. Then, there’s always Wikipedia. haha!
Well, I hope this helps you get on the road to awesome zombie novel writing.
Feel free to pop in questions below! I’ll do my best to get back with each and every one of you.
I’d like to thank Ms. Toni Lesatz for having me on her blog during this amazing month of zOctober. She’s one hell of a gem. Thank you, Toni! For all you do!
That’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!
Thanks for being here, Jo! I really enjoyed this post. Invaluable information for writers!
~About the Author~
Hi, I’m Jo. Let’s forget all the “Jo Michaels is blah, blah, blah” stuff and just go with it. I’m a voracious reader (often reading more than one book at a time), a writer, a book reviewer, a mom, a wife, and one of the EICs at INDIE Books Gone Wild. I have an almost photographic memory and tend to make people cringe at the number of details I can recall about them and/or their book(s). My imagination follows me around like a conjoined twin and causes me to space out pretty often or laugh out loud randomly in completely inappropriate situations.
I have a degree in graphic design, and my journey to the end was one few students who begin that program ever complete. However, this was one case where my memory and OCD tendencies helped me. Graduation was one of the most amazing days of my life. But, my most amazing day was when my now husband proposed. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella someday, and he pulled off the proposal of fantasies.
At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m going to let it out there and say how much I absolutely adore the man I’m married to. Along with my children, he’s my whole world.
I’ve lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia, but I’ve had my feet in almost every state. Traveling is something I adore, and have plans to someday see the Mongolia I’ve written about in Yassa.
One of my favorite things is hearing from fans! You can find me on social media most any day of the week. Connect! I’d love to hear from you.
Jo’s Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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