1. Adamson93
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    Adamson93 New Member

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    Is the zombie genre overdone?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Adamson93, Jun 6, 2012.

    Well I was looking to currently write a novel on the zombie genre, which would include a clear defined backstory about how the infection came about and with detailed characterization. I was just wondering though do you think the zombie genre is overdone or if it's done right could still be an entertaining read?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Frankly, I'd stay away from that genre. There've been so many zombies, vampires, werewolves, etc., that every time I hear about a new book or movie about these creatures I start yawning. Even if you do it right, I still wouldn't buy it.

    Sorry.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ANYTHING, done well, can be an entertaining read. Not that I have seen anything in recent years in the zombie genre that didn't bore me to sleep.

    So surprise me. Write a zombie story that doesn't stink worse, and shuffle along slower, than the crumbling corpselings.
     
  4. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    I think the market is over saturated. But if its good it should sell.
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    What's the plot? As long as you can make it interesting and enticing, it shouldn't matter to me.

    I'm looking for the emotional aspect of a zombie infestation that's not "kill all the undead people!" that we see a lot in the movies and videogames.

    I would like to read a decent zombie story. What's yours?
     
  6. Mr.
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    Mr. Member

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    Science zombies are definitely overdone. There was a viral outbreak or escaped experiment. Oh no! It's almost always simply shoehorned in. I'd prefer more people to just go the route of zombies powered by plain ol' fuckin' magic. Don't be afraid of mixing genres either (for some reason "zombie" became a genre to itself). I've thought some form of zombie taking center stage in a fantasy setting could be interesting; in fact, you could build the entire magic system around making them, or worshiping them, or conversing with ancestors from generations ago. There are lots of paths nobody's even tried to go down yet.

    tl;dr
    Science zombies are old and busted. Magic zombies are the new hotness.
     
  7. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    Unless you go way of out the box in a good way I'd say don't write a zombie novel. I'm not talking about a political rights groups fighting for zombie rights in terms of ethical treatment (that would be bad out of the box), but more along the lines of, a digital infection that's spreads across all electronic devices and cant be used by humans without dying...lol. How about this, if a zombie novel is in your head by all means, write it for the sake of writing and let it be a learning experience if nothing else. Cheers.
     
  8. Houda
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    Houda Member

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    Well ive got zombies in the novel im writing. They arnt exactly zombies thou, just people who become extremely aggressive because.. well its a secret :p but man who cares go for it!
     
  9. BBane
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    BBane New Member

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    Just my opinion, but I don't believe in terms like overdone, saturated and so on with regards to good story telling. If they had any merits, we'd never see another love story, buddy tale, high seas adventure, etc., again. What is overdone is poor story telling, which often flows in trends following something successful, which may be why right now there are many who would say zombies have been done to death.

    I think there's always room (and readers) for a good story about any subject, and zombie tales are a great opportunity to tell a good story, you just have to make it stand out. Answer the vital question, what caused the zombies/where are they coming from? That's an opportunity to explore an interesting and fresh theme. And develop deep characters, avoid campy and archetypes like the plague, you don't want to use the expected and predictable. This is where I'd spend my time with a zombie tale at least.

    The plot of a zombie tale is simple, your characters don't want to get eaten. You can have fun with this and include lots of physical action, but the story can't hinge on this as there's nothing new about it. Sure, you can create fresh ideas and scenes around the physical action, but it will still be the same core as almost every other zombie story, people are trying not to get eaten. The real story, or chance to tell a fresh and more interesting story than most recent zombie tales have, is in the character's emotional and intellectual struggles as they try to 'not get ate'.

    So, again just my opinion, but if you've got something that you want to say or explore, then I wouldn't worry about what's out there or if people think it's already overdone, I'd just write it and try to make it the freshest, best story I could.
     
  10. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    As has been said, a good read is a good read, so if you can do it well then do it.

    I've no interest in the genre personally, but have nevertheless ordered a copy of Apocalypse Cow because according to reviews it's an unlikely tale told with humour, which is right up my street. Normally the 'zombie' label would cause me to walk on by, but this sounds like a new take so I'll give it a go.
     
  11. Langadune
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    Langadune Member

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    If you're a zombie nut and read every new book on the subject, then you're stoked when a new one comes out... especially if it turns out to be a good read. Sometimes a reader just wants to be entertained. There's always going to be a market, but getting your story published may be tricky if you don't have something new to bring to the table. If you have an interesting story to tell... tell it!
     
  12. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, absolutely (but not as much as vampires)
    Yes, absolutely. Do something new with it, or do something old exceptionally well, and it will be entertaining.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As for whether the genre is overdone, or played out, the fact that people are still paying to see zombie movies and grabbing up zombie fiction speaks otherwise.

    Just because many members here grab for airsick bags at the mention of yet another zombie tale, it doesn't mean the sub-genre is as dead as it's festering stars.
     
  14. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    For me the attraction of zombie novels is not the zombies themselves. It's the people, and how they deal with the unique pressure that the zombies put on them. Some of my favourite parts of zombie films, books etc barely feature the zombies at all. For me it's all about people and their relationships, and that's pretty much as inexhaustible a topic as you'll find.
     
  15. jigsawkid7
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    jigsawkid7 New Member

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    here come the men in black ! : p
     
  16. DHTSciFiWriter
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    DHTSciFiWriter New Member

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    Zombie movies in general depend on the humans being incredibly stupid as in not initiating any security measures. The ones I really despise is the zombie virus outbreak genre. Any advanced country that does not quarantine or just plain nuke cities with zombies and the virus deserves to be brought down by them. The other is the fact zombies ca cause any apocalypse. In reality, they would kill themselves or be killed by natural or man-made phenomenon. To me, zombies are boring and played out
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps. But can you imagine any government actually making the decision to bomb its own cities? Even worse, to bomb the cities of its neighbors? The political deadlocks could make an interesting story.

    I really have no interest in zombie fiction. But I do think blanket statements like "Science zombies are old and busted" should immediately be suspect for short-sightedness. Any story idea can be looked at from a fresh direction. It only requires a fertile imagination and a soup├žon of sideways thinking.
     
  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, there's a videogame coming out about a zombie apocalypse in modern-day London. So...I doubt the zombie genre is going out any time soon. Not when we still have a fascination with the undead coming out of the graves to haunt and/or seriously mess up us living folks.

    EDIT: But just once, I'd like to see a zombie apocalypse set in a historical period, not modern times. How would Napoleon's men deal with the zombies? Or...or what if zombies broke out during the American Civil War, or another war in another period of history like...say...Alexander the Great and Darius? How would these military commanders handle it?

    That is a zombie story I'd read, hands down.

    EDIT II: Hell, why just hope! I can just write the damned thing myself! I'll write two zombie stories. One set during the Napoleonic Wars, and another set during the American Civil War!
     
  19. E.Thomas
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    E.Thomas Member

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    Do they have to be zombies ultimately zombies are cannibals what about a race of cannibals reborn or locked away inside the earth unwittingly opened by some explorer also not many zombie stories that are not set in the present. Could be a zombie story set in history maybe in a war camp where the prisoners turn into zombies and attack the guards, people could then be on the side of the zombies. Especially if you show them as humans first mistreated by their captors and as a result of experiments done on them they turn into zombies.

    I think in this post-modernist era there is no such thing as an original idea, everything has been done before and done well. Do you want you want but make it your own and if you write only to be published you'll ultimately fail because what you write won't be what you want to write or feel. Do the story you want and see where it takes you.

    Hope this helps

    E.T

    x

    Ha ha sorry just seen the above post.... Great minds think alike zombies in history :)
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I know, right?! Think of the potential, man!! Think of the potential! We've got, literally, all of human history to put in a zombie apocalypse, yet we only seem to want to do modern! Don't you know how badass it'd be to see Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde take on an entire zombie legion? xD

    "Today, we ally ourselves with our greatest enemy to face an unholy abomination to have ever walked the Earth! Stand with me, and show the true fury of the MONGOLIAN WARRIOR!!"
     
  21. Lovelina
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    Lovelina Member

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    I don't know if you've seen Firefly Season One (and only season, everyone I talked to agrees that this is the best prematurely cancelled show), they introduced their own version of "zombies", and the plot, characters, settings were impeccable. If you can pull off something like that, then you are golden.
     
  22. koal4e
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    koal4e Member

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    I dont think its overdone, I love the Walking Dead and also loved the fun take in Zombieland....its about how you approach the story really.
     
  23. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    I have to agree with everyone who said not to worry about it being overdone. Just do it well.
    There isn't a single type of story out there that hasn't been done more times than you can count. It's the new spins, the recombinations of elements that make a story fresh. After all, you could easily say: "I'm thinking about writing a story where two people fall in love, but hasn't that been done before?" or "I'm worried my story may seem tired. It's about someone who solves a crime."
    I do agree with Mr., though, on the science zombies. There have been WAY too many plagues or mutations or whatever that have caused the dead to rise or change living people into mindless cannibals. Zombies have their root in Voudon (aka Voodoo) lore. Explore that.
     
  24. BeepBeep
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    BeepBeep New Member

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    The problem with zombies is that it's a very limited subject. Once you have put them there and explained their origin (or not, which is a common alternative) you only have a more or less detailed post-apocalyptic setting and characters that have to survive and find a place to live. The nature of a zombie is pretty dumb; as characters they are flat and boring, they do absolutely nothing. So ultimately, the interesting things left, as it's been pointed out, are the characters and the survival aspect of the story, and that's the fascinating concept to explore and the reason people love zombie apocalypses so much. And yes, I think it's a bit overdone these days. In my favorite bookshops they have an entire section dedicated to zombie related literature. But hey, it's like eating a burguer; sure, it's not the best meal out there, but from time to time it's aight :)

    By the way, a classic Cracked article, just in case there's someone who haven't read it:7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak would fail quickly. Kind of kills the magic, huh? :p
     
  25. Stacey_Louise
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    Stacey_Louise New Member

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    Hi Adamson, that's the style of book I'm working on at the minute aswell. I would say zombie films/books are slightly overdone but then again so are vampires, werewolves etc.. A lot of genre of books are overdone nowadays but if you can put your own spin on it then that makes all the difference :)
    Good luck with your zombies :) hope it turns out well

    S.
     

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