1. Epsilon
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    Epsilon Member

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    A Serious Zombie Story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Epsilon, Jul 27, 2010.

    Is it possible? I've been wrestling with the idea for quite some time - apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction is something that fascinates me - and I'm really willing to give it a go.
    So what do you think? If the themes, the characters and the journey is good enough, can it be taken seriously? Would all of you give it a chance, or dismiss it simply because it had zombies?
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sure. The swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvists manage to do this 2005 on the swedish market on a wide front with Hanteringen av odöda/Handling the Undead. As in old grandmas never been intrested in zombies reading it on the bus popular.

    Good writing can pull anything off. Most zombie fans probably like a book that is well written in other aspects as well.
     
  3. dogboon
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    dogboon Member

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    Yes, I love the concept of post/apocalypse stories and zombies can definitely be good. I once upon a time wrote a 'basic' screen play for something along those lines. An old friend and I worked on it as we travelled to collage every day. The 28 days later came out... and the 'bleeping' running zombies. I thought of that years before.

    *Shakes head*
     
  4. Aconite
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    Aconite Senior Member

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    'The Zombie Survival Guide' and 'World War Z' were both well done.

    To refine the question a bit, though, I'd suggest (but would love to be proven wrong) that it's harder to make zombies compelling supernatural villains because, in the traditional portrayal, they aren't really that sentient. What makes Dracula so frightening in Stoker's tale isn't the fact that he drinks blood; it's the fact that he does that and lurks around to elegantly scare the bejesus out of first Harker, then everyone else. He's well-spoken. He's refined. He's a chap whose life story you want to hear... and then he's revealed to be the monster.

    Zombies are just dead and lifeless from the get-go, with no other agenda than either 'braaaaaiiiins' or 'reveeeeenge,' and thus I personally find them less interesting as villains than many other supernatural things that go 'boo' in the night. Just my $0.02, though, and as I said, I welcome refutation!
     
  5. untalented311
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    untalented311 Senior Member

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    I'vve recentely written a serious zombie story. Zombie storiies are the bomb diggity. Right on man.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  7. Langadune
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    Langadune Member

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    Also look at book called Patient Zero. It's not post apocalyptic but it is a "serious" take on the zombie story.
     
  8. Boom Bach
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    Boom Bach Member

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    Okay quick thing and everyone will hate me for saying this.
    " Zombies " Such as Dawn of the Dead are not possible with out magical, satanic or godly interference. BUT
    " Infection " Such as 28 days later which is for the idea of infected is that they're not reanimated beings but humans that have either been warped their minds or out them in such a state of " rage " they will kill/attack anything. Now there is a third which people usually call
    " Viruses " such as I Am Legend, which are like infected but have a unrealistic weakness like in the example, sunlight. After you pick one of these ( assuming you want realistic go with the " Infection ")
    So now there's a couple ways to go with the Infection.
    Rabies- it has been altered somehow.
    Mind alerter- it makes you loose control and become enraged, in which you attack others.
    Other- crazy scientist super soldier crap which while realistic I guess...over used even for a zombie genre.
    Now you have your kind of zombie, and the cause. Now do the story.
    There's 3 kinds of zombie stories.
    A Siege Film- such as Dawn of Dead which pretty much your characters are stuck in a house or mall etc.
    A point to point- which is usually just someone trying to get to the " zombie free " sanctuary.
    A Survival- which is usually is when society is FULLY collapsed and you just drive or walk from place to place gathering supplies.
    Now after you pick which type you'll use. Now characters which are your own and cannot help you with sorry. If you have any more questions message me for there is great book on writing zombie stories and it doesn't give you too much where your story is no unique but enough to make a it a good Zombie book.
     
  9. nickbedford
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    nickbedford Member

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    You could always spin the idea on its head and have mindless aliens had wiped out the population.
     
  10. Ragdoll
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    Ragdoll Member

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    I think it's totally possible, but, a challenge. Zombies has been done before, a lot, and there are so many bad stories about them. To write a good story about zombies, you gotta make it realistic, and not overdone. Ask people what they think of different zombie-movies and books. Watch and read around a little and make up your own opinion on what makes a realistic zombie^^
     
  11. chinaski
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    chinaski New Member

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    To make it effective you have to remember what is most frightening about zombies, not that they eat flesh but that never stop chasing, no matter how far you run, they will keep coming, slowly but without fail. That's creepy to me.
     
  12. Movie_Pat
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    Movie_Pat New Member

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a serious zombie story.

    You just have to think about why, thematically zombies belong in that world. In Dawn of the Dead the zombies were metaphors for our consumer driven society.

    The best zombie stories are those that don't just use Zombies as the macguffin in a generic survival story. Explore the idea of zombies on a thematic level and you'll be onto something much more interesting.
     
  13. Talako
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    Talako Member

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    I tried to write a zombie story from the point of view of the zombie.

    I typed out, "Brains, brains, brains...," there wasn't much farther I could take that. :)
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What is the point of view of a mindless meat puppet?
     
  15. Zane
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    Zane Contributing Member

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    Wow, reading this thread, actually made me quite curious.
    I´ve never read a zombie story, just watched movies, and played videogames.

    Perhaps, the next book i´ll start reading will be one with zombies, to make my zombie-books debut :D
     
  16. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd recommend the novelizations of the Resident Evil video games. I have only read one of them(never got around to finishing them) but Umbrella Conspiracy(first novel in the series) was fun to read.Though it was mostly about the characters trying to escape a mansion, but there are some good moments with Zombies. :D
     
  17. Talako
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    Talako Member

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    I wasn't being serious. It was a meant to be funny.

    Apparently I failed.
     
  18. nickbedford
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    nickbedford Member

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    The most interesting thing about zombie stories (film, TV, books) is the unnatural nature of them. It's something that is dead, has no soul, no life force, driven by "nothing" essentially, to feast on innocent people's bodies. Imagine your friend being taken by one. The horror you'd feel, the shock. Imagine their shock. They don't want to die, but they definitely don't want to die slowly by soulless, rotting corpses that used to once be happy friendly people.

    They have unending resolve. They're not evil, they're not good, they have nothing going on upstairs. Because they cannot be persuaded or reasoned with, you have no choice but to run with all your might.

    It's the soulless, horrifying nature of the zombie that is the frightening part, as opposed to the physical nature of them.
     
  19. untalented311
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    untalented311 Senior Member

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    Talako I too wrote two paragraphs from the view of a zombie, starting with his early life, and how he ended up where he was, and how hungry he was, how happy he was that he smelt a human, how sad he was that the human got away with only the most minor of wounds. I chuckled at my own, and I'm sure that your own was very funny
     
  20. Shiiva
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    Shiiva New Member

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    I think if you focus more on the terror of these creatures contastanly running after you, the emotions the character would feel being chased... as opposed to the dribbling, moaning zombies that are just ridiculous, you could definately make it serious. Description is everything, and most post apocalyptic stories I've read bore me because they focus far too much on the shuffling of a zombie than the emotions present, the horror and the setting.
     
  21. nickbedford
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    nickbedford Member

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    That would be funny! But then again, if you were to be serious, a first person zombie novel with the MC being a zombie would be something like this:

     
  22. Boom Bach
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    Boom Bach Member

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    I like what a few others have said. Since zombies/infected are mindless they can't be reasoned with making them well...only scary, not interesting. You have to have good well developed characters, but since the zombie genre has been done so much you need to make them very unique or no one will care for your story.
     
  23. ToxicWaste
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    ToxicWaste Member

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    The one piece of advice I can give about writing a zombie story is that you simply can't set it anywhere in or near a mall. There simply isn't enough for you characters to "interact" with to make the story original.

    What would make the story original is its setting and characters. Zombies by their nature tend to be quite predictable.
     
  24. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    I find this coincidential since I had only visited the bookstore earlier in the day and I had dismissed two books since both of them involved zombies. I believe both of which were cheap and of the comedy genre. Not only that, but they were typical.

    Most zombie stories I've both seen and read usually contain the same formula where there is a boy (usually a teenager?) who is among a handful of others who are also unaffected by the spreading zombie disease. Of course, this boy overcomes all odds and becomes a great hero by the end of the tale. It's the same old thing and that's why you must break away from this. If you're going to use zombies as the main antagonists, you are going to have a bit of a problem writing out a villain that measures up to the protagonist's capabilities. What I always found interesting about a character was his/her way of solving a problem through brain power. Of course, since a zombie's brains have already partly rotted, this will prove to be a little difficult to do seriously or realitically.

    Maybe what you can do is try giving the zombies a quality that you will find in no other book/film/video game/etc. Not only that, but buil around these antagonists and see if the protagonist can be able to beat (or perhaps lose) against these new odds that have been placed upon him. Not to mention that the villains do not make the story. It's a good addition to make an innovative villain, but it is usually more important to focus on the situation the main character must (or chooses to) face. As Boom Bach had earlier mentioned, you must make them unique in some way or else your story will be brushed off more easily.
     
  25. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Marvel Comics did a number of Zombie stories under the header Marvel Zombies a few years ago. In their universe, zombies were not mindless, but their hunger so totally took over them they couldn't resist eating the flesh of sentients.

    Once they had eaten, the hunger subsided for a while, and they could think clearly about what they had done - like eating their family. This lead to a lot of internal conflict between the zombies and within their own consciences. Most of the stories were told from the point of view of the zombies, and I think it worked very well.
     

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