1. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    zombie problem

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by highwaymanlee, Apr 24, 2012.

    in a story im writing im having a problem with where the disease originates from i can think of three possibilities
    1. its a punishment from God.
    2. a meteorite crashes into the earth bringing with it the disease
    3. this one i dont want to do but its the typical scientist were working on some way to cure some disease and it gets leaked into the air and starts turning people.
    im wanting to do either the first or second one. the question that im asking is are any of these, mainly the first two, believable?

    i dont want any type of discussion over whether or not God is real on this post if you reply make it about the question im asking not your views on religion.
     
  2. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Zombies as punishment of God, that's kind of original I think, but then I don't know what kind of genre you are aiming for. If the genre is right, it can be believable. 2 sounds more like a time tested science fiction formula. It is of course believable but a bit cliched.
     
  3. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    You could combine two and three, the meteorite crashes, scientists extract the substance, then there are consequences. Funnily, enough that is kind of what I'm doing in my book, except the origins of my parasite where subject of ancient alien experiments that ended up embedded in meteorites. There are loads of ways to have a zombie apocalypse, it just depends what kind of zombies you want there are loads.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you use the God idea, you're opening up a whole load of themes and loose ends you're gonna have to tie up within your novel - God must not be a simple plot device to get your story going. God must have a role, he'll have to be a real character in your book - because, 1. Why did he punish the world? 2. Why this method, what lessons is he trying to teach the people? 3. Once the punishment is under way, how involved is he gonna be with your earthly characters? 4. Did he want survivors? If yes, what is he gonna do to ensure that? If no, what is he gonna do to ensure there isn't? etc etc

    Your characters would also need to talk about this God, perhaps talk TO this God. You'd need to create a religious system that involves your God and perhaps also something else - something that provokes this God into wanting to destroy the world.

    The reason for this is - if you're gonna explain in your novel that God caused this disaster, how will people know it's "God" unless they believed in a god in the first place? How will you put it across that it's God? Unless of course, you're working on random fanatical delusions and you simply have crazies screaming that it was God who did it all - but then it's not really the cause of the zombie epidemic but just character reactions. In order to establish that God caused it all, you need a system and people who believe in God, and you need reasons, you need your characters to have opinions about this God, whether they think it's just/unjust, whether they like this God or not, whether they'll try to reach God and come to a resolution to save mankind, and whether they understand God's motives and speculations over why God has done this.

    Personally, if all you want is to get the ball rolling and have yourself some zombies - stick to the meteorite. It doesn't need a personality, reason or motive, and there's little aftermath as the meteorite would just sit there and you have yourself a possible cure by taking samples from the meteorite and testing it etc.

    Whereas punishment by God - how exactly did you want to resolve that one? I don't think guns and tanks are gonna beat a God who could turn people into flesh-eating zombies. You'd be opening up a religious realm within your novel and I suggest you do NOT use this idea unless you're actually interested in discussing all the religious, ethical and philosophical issues that come with it, as well as a lot of investment in a difficult and controversial character. Otherwise God becomes a simple plot device and any reader with half a brain will see through it, and see it as really, very cheap.
     
  5. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    5 insert rouge nations name, bio wepon?
     
  6. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    I would forego the disease angle entirely. I mean take example one. Why would God send a disease to do it. He could just make the dead arise with no explanation whatsoever. You can do stuff like that when you are the Big Guy. This would also explain why ALL THE DEAD in the world come back. A disease is spread via vectors. Not even airborne viruses would infect EVERY corpse in the world. Plue as was mentioned, the God angle introduced religious overtones to the work that you may or may NOT want.

    I would go with radiation. The Earth is passing through a radiation belt (this was mentioned in the original Night of the Living Dead on a background news report), so everything on the earth is exposed. Thus every fresh corpse rises regardless of how it died. Then use example two with the meterorite. You now have a source of radiation. Maybe they tried nuking it, but that just atomizes it and spread the radiation everywhere. Or instead they are not idiots and quarantine the landing zone and send in teams to construct a missile to shoot the damn thing back into space. Thus your story is about the team trying to do so, forced to fend off wave after wave of zombies. They should be led by Bruce Campbell.
     
  7. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I wouldn't go for a science fiction explanation, because really, there is no believable non-supernatural explanation for corpses rising from the dead.

    You could go with the God one. Or here are some other thoughts:

    Some terrorists do an epically powerful necromancy spell.

    The Grim Reaper is killed or incapacitated, or decides not to do his job for awhile.

    There always were zombies, but a very powerful good-guy spell kept them from rising. Now the spell's broken down.

    Or you could have no explanation. Maybe you have a certain cause in mind, maybe not, but it doesn't matter because none of your characters ever figure out why it happened.
     
  8. Langadune
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    Langadune Member

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    Is it integral to your plot to really solve "HOW" or "WHY" it happened. Sometimes, the fact that I happened can be enough. Some characters can speculate: "It was God." "Meteor." "Government conspiracy." "Etc." People can have compelling reasons to believe what they believe. The actual answer can remain a mystery, if it's not needed to drive your story.
     
  9. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Mckk brought up the best points for 1. Really, if you go down that road, that is a good beginning check list for things that will need to be understood, by you at the very least so it can manage to come across to the reader.

    I don't know, Walking Dead (TV) the virus jump starts the brain stem leaving only primitive instincts was fine enough. If I'm doing science fiction or paranormal reading/watching/etc there is the point where you turn off reality and just want something that is almost believable and won't run head first past your suspend belief.
     
  10. Question
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    If you go with the god choice their isn't really gonna be any proof for that and will be more of the characters opinion. Unless like it was mentioned before, that you have god as an active character or make specific mention of him/her.
    Though If you do the meteor maybe you could make it some kind of alien type virus that takes over dead bodies. This could give some zombies different alien like attributes which could be unique.
    The virus thing from drug trials is kind of the default zombie cause. Not really unique but it can work.
     
  11. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    It's difficult to show anything as an act of God unless you have God Himself beam down from the heavens and explain everything. Even if you as the author know that's how the outbreak started, it's hard to show that to an audience, many of whom don't believe in God and never will, no matter what.

    I'm actually working on a zombie novel right now, and the outbreak starts when a truck carrying toxic chemicals crashes into a cemetery. That's the catalyst that a lot of zombie movies from the 80's use -- namely the Return of the Living Dead series. Another popular one is radiation (Night of the Living Dead) as well as various diseases. In Zombieland, the virus starts when someone eats a hamburger infected with mad cow disease. In the book Feed by Mira Grant, the virus starts when scientists develop a cure for cancer and the common cold that also brings the virus along with it.

    There are dozens of possible origins for a zombie virus, and almost any of them involving diseases/viruses/disasters can be written to be believable. Do some research and decide which one fits your story.
     
  12. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Not for a psych major. If you know anything about neurology, that explanation makes no sense whatsoever.

    I usually cope by mentally replacing the sci-fi explanation with 'magic'. As long as their explanation isn't too prominent in the plot I can still enjoy the story that way.
     
  13. Rickswan
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    Rickswan Member

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    Don't like the 3rd option. 2nd seems to be the best. Actually, you could combine 1 & 2, having the church say it's divine punishment whilst science says #2 is likely.
     
  14. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless the cause of the virus is important to the plot. Just say it's some mutated badass strain of the Whovian Virus. That or some other name of a fandom of your choosing. You don't even need a scientist to be involved in creating it. Viruses mutate all on their own. The flu virus seems to just love mutating.

    You could also take a look at Cracked's article 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen.
    That could give you some ideas. While I am not entirely sure on the articles accuracy but it is a fun read.

    But unless it's actually important... you can pretty much give any reason and most readers will just accept it. Within reason of course.
     
  15. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    The God thing is different but who'd have to cover all the angles. What ever happened to the traditional voodoo witch doctor. Maybe a general who's into voodoo and building an army of spec ops zombies.
     
  16. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    This, I like!

    One of the elements of black bag operations is the concept of "getting in and geetting out" without the enemy knowing it. Your average rampaging zombie leaves scads of DNA in the form of crumbling skin and errant body parts that resemble the Titanic's debris field.

    Maybe a doctor invented a "sterile zombie." All of the benefits of the mindless malleable undead without the nagging wake of fetid flesh.

    Then Dr. Bruce Banner drops a petri dish of the sterile zombie sequenced gene splices into a copying machine...
     
  17. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    It has potential. Maybe some counter zombie forces made up of robotic enhanced volunteers who are thus doomed to be more machine the human. That's got series potential. A lot of emotional angst there.
     
  18. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Ya' know, 'Psycho, you and I should collaborate on a elf-eating sterile zombie mercenary spec-ops shadow government religious Armageddon romp.

    You could do the science and technical portion, I'll write the lead, a passionate burned out Sicilian biker with a heart of gold. Maybe a "War of the Worlds" ending where the farm-grown zombies self-destruct under their own weight from eating a Cruisinart paste of elfin enemy dead from the newly eradiated District 12.
     
  19. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    LoL, One thing is for certain any collaboration would be mind blowing original characters. I always thought the idea of sword wielding biker elves had merit. I think studded black leather and elves, just go together.
     
  20. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    In a story, yes. In real life, they're mean, spiteful drunks.

    But seriously, you and I have have the same type of bizarre gallows humor. If anyone is ever going to save the genre of the rampaging undead, it's going to be a team like us.

    The story writes itself. One of the hero sterile zombies is decorated with the CMoH. The members of his rifle company give him a hand--from the former zombie medal winner. Everyone dines on elfen good cookies, made from low-fat elves...

    I'm thinking of a working title like, "The Unquick and the Undead."
     
  21. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    We just may do that. As soon as I can make arrangements we can put that group together. Nothing says we can't do a couple projects together too.
     
  22. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I agree. Lots of talent here, and there are books in progress. It would be nice to work on a project separate from the stories we're writing on a daily basis. Sometimes I need a break from my characters, but I feel like writing something--anything.

    Maybe this forum should have a "guild section."
     
  23. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    That's why I have three projects going at once, one of them being a series of short stories for kids.
     
  24. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Considering the old Vulcan adage that, "Only Nixon can go to China," perhaps the two of us--who hate zombie stories--are the best guys to write the greatest zombie story ever told. At least we'd have a fresh prospective, and with my sense of humor we'd be banned by every creative writing forum on the 'net, thereby ensuring our success.
     
  25. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    LOL Success is ok, as long as we're not famous. Infamous maybe a different matter. We can say authored by the Rorschach Committee. Seeing weird stuff in everything.
     

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