Zombies! discussion

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Writing/Publishing > I want my Zombie (books) to be....

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message 1: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) This one has kinda been done already in different threads, but I was thinking that it's about time we start up a new chat.

So we all love Zombie Books, that is a given.
I can think of a half dozen things that I look for in a Zombie book. How about you?
Why not take a couple minutes and jot down what it is that you look for in zombie books.
Here are some examples:
- I want to see my zombies as the antagonists for my main character.
- I prefer my zombies to be little more then savage animals for my main character (s) to hunt.
- I like when my zombie books focus on the "survival factors" of the main character.
- I want to read about "the how and why" of the zombies.
- I want to see gore, blood, and really vivid killings.
- I read zombies books hoping to find a plausible plot.
- I read Zombie books just for the fun. No thinking required.

And so on.

Let us see just where each of us line up in our zombie preferences.
Keep in mind that there are no singular right or wrong answers as no two readers will likely be looking for the exact same thing.. in short: Play nice :)

P.S. Does anyone know what happened to the groups founder?


message 2: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) Hmm, ok Well then I will go first:

I like zombie books that have a fair amount of combat battle scenes but.. not too vivid with the killing.
I get a bit grossed out when I read about dismemberment in particular.

I enjoy "full" stories. At some point in the story or series, I want to know what caused the zombies.

I want rich, original main characters. Now for the sake of convenience and to keep with the genres at times 'tackiness' I expect some stock characters. Just like when we watch a horror flick we expect "the virgin" to live pretty far into the movie. Zombie books have their stock characters as well, that ex- military character, or the husband looking for his family.... But for me.. I strongly dislike main characters who are simply cookie cutter characters.

Now for the zombies themselves, I have seen the trend to make zombies less "mindless killing machines" and into a guy who just happened to be bitten and now wants a little live flesh for his dinner. I am so not into reading about intelligent zombies, unless that intelligence is to make them into a better antagonist for the main character.
What was that movie title I seen the other day, Zombies a love story. ?! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1590249/p...
Granted it was a spoof but its certainly not what I look for in a zombie.
OK, I started anyone else want to share?


message 3: by Cedric (new)

Cedric Nye (cedricnye) | 86 comments I guess what I really like in a Zombie-themed book or movie is a hero who I can relate to. I want the hero to be impacted by the Zombies in some way or another. I want the hero to be human, flawed.

I agree about wanting rich and original characters.

On Zombie intelligence; if Zombies are too intelligent then they are basically vampires in my opinion. I want them to have rudimentary intelligence as it pertains to making life difficult for the protagonist, the hero, the heroine.

I want ACTION! Some history, as it pertains to the protagonist and killing the undead.

I read Zombie-Lit for the pure LOVE of it! That vicarious thrill of the protagonist overcoming horrific adversity, and my own escape into a world where the rude cashier is now a gibbering creature who gets killed!

So many reasons, I will think of some more. Great idea for a topic!!


message 4: by Tammy K. (last edited Jun 11, 2013 02:48PM) (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) Cedric wrote: "I guess what I really like in a Zombie-themed book or movie is a hero who I can relate to. I want the hero to be impacted by the Zombies in some way or another. I want the hero to be human, flawed...."

Cedric

I agree with you on your point about the blurring of intelligent zombies with (romantic) vampires of today. I think one of the reasons it is done is because killing zombies does not have much sex appeal if the zombies are all dead and ugly right? Better to have a handsome/beautiful, misunderstood zombie, who wants to ‘the right thing’ and drink the blood of animals ..oops I meant eat the flesh of animals :D
Cause let us be truthful sex sells. There has yet to be a genre that the romance/erotica genre does not try to spill over in.
Just my thoughts though on that one.
And yes, I like the flawed hero, or normal guy who is in over his head and gets to win the day. Of course I want to see him take a few hits here and there too.

What do you think about multiple main characters be they in divided up in different subplots or working as a team?
I have found that I like multiple main characters working as a team best, because When you have several story lines all going at the same time it can be choppy and difficult to follow.
There have only been a small handful of stories which have multiple story lines going at one time that I have actually enjoyed.


message 5: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 2112 comments One thing not mentioned is humor. I love humor in my zombie books. Mostly in the banter between characters, or in their relationships.

I strongly dislike the stories that focus on women being turned into sex slaves, and have a number of rape scenes in them.

I do want to see female heroes as well.

- I want to see my zombies as the antagonists for my main character.

I would expand that to ALL characters. But there usually needs to be some extended drive for the main character.

- I prefer my zombies to be little more then savage animals for my main character (s) to hunt.

Agreed. And I prefer the slow shambling zombies. Not the faster than ever, sometimes jumping 10-15 feet, etc.

One on one, they should not be extremely dangerous. But get together a group of 20-30?

The Walking Dead backed off on their zombie capabilities. In the opening season, they had them climbing chain link fences. When they arrive at the farm, they can't get over a 4-foot wooden fence.

However, I do like the concept that the zombies do retain SOME semblance of memory. Just little remnants here and there. But the drive for "food" is overwhelming.

Even Romero had zombies using tools, in Night of the Living Dead. In the early graveyard scene, one of the zombies comes up to the car, finds all the doors are locked, and IMMEDIATELY looks down to the ground to find a rock to smash the windows. Intelligent? Memory? Too much? But in many stories, the zombies don't even remember how to turn the knob on a door.

- I like when my zombie books focus on the "survival factors" of the main character.

Again, I would go to the group, not just the main character. I tend to like the main character that would be a loner, but grudgingly accepts responsibilities for others, because of some inner drive he has to protect as many as he can.

I strongly dislike main characters who are simply cookie cutter characters.

I'm not opposed to it, as long as it drives interesting elements elsewhere.

I like the flawed hero, or normal guy who is in over his head and gets to win the day. Of course I want to see him take a few hits here and there too.

Yup. But flawed in rational ways.

The recent story we both read had the main character endure significant hardships, traveling across the country mostly on foot, because he was driven to destroy the particular zombie that killed his wife (seen on news footage). That was preposterous. I hated that character, and wished he would die every time the zombies showed up.

- I want to read about "the how and why" of the zombies.

I don't really care, other than how it may relate to survival. Do bites spread the resurrection, or just kill, and everyone that dies rises regardless of how they died?

I think the movie, Groundhog Day, would have been significantly lessened if they had tried to explain WHY it happened. It was much better as just, "...this is something that happened...".

I hate stories where the bite is supposed to be what spreads the disease, yet the zombie apocalypse rose up world wide simultaneously. That just makes no sense.

- I want to see gore, blood, and really vivid killings.

Not all that important to me.

- I read zombies books hoping to find a plausible plot.

Hear! Hear!

- I read Zombie books just for the fun. No thinking required.

Agreed. The story should just flow over me, as each page turns. It's one reason I hate typos and grammatical errors. They distract me and take me out of the story, and then it takes some time for me to get back into it.

I do have some trouble with British zombie stories, just because of the differences in language and slang. Even though some are slight.


message 6: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) Hi Randy (and everyone else)

Thanks for taking the time to think (and type) all that out.

As for humor in zombie books, that's a hard one for me to say yea or nay to.
Most of the time I say nay to humor inside of the horror genre. Yet admittedly there are times when a one liner or two will help ease the tension in a story.

You brought up the point of 'external drives for the main characters and also the drive for the zombies'.

For me the zombies drive is best when they just want food, because that I can easily accept as I read.
But the one book we both read a while back which had the zombies as puppets for aliens really captured my mind.
I wont mention the name because I am mad at the author for not having a sequel out by now. (insert angry face here) Grrr, how dare he have a life outside of continuing the series! but I digress.
So I guess I am willing to accept zombies as having a drive other then hunger if it's done right.
I forget if we have both read any books together that has a "queen" zombie?
I know that 'I' have read a couple of series that end by suggesting a queen zombie or master zombie yet none of them played that out well.

As for the walking dead.. ok promise you are not gonna delete me off your friendship list and I will tell you something... I am assuming you promised :P I do not like the walking dead. Yes I said it!! and wow it feels liberating!
For me, The series has gotten too soap opera like. I stopped viewing in the first or maybe second season when she thought she might be carrying the other guys kid. At that point I was like, "oh just die already you cheating (insert foul word here)!"
If I wanted to see a "she sleeps with him this week, now cheats with him next week, and now she is back to him the week after" nonsense I would watch sex in the city, which I don't and so I don't.

Now about the hows and whys, you have a very valid point, sometimes solving the mystery can take away the entertainment aspect.
Yet as for me, I want to know how the author came up with the zombies, what makes these zombies special, original. It maybe just be me, but its something that I look for.

I like plague like zombies the most though. My mind can easily envision how a virus is spread.

Loner vs a group. I want a group, acting as a team. I do not mind if the main character is their leader be he reluctant or willing but nothing annoys me more then to see a single male characters acting out all the stereotypical male goals.
Hmm another way to say this, Let me try it this way: In the world of literature, there are such things as "chick books" and there are such things as "Guy books" I like neither. I do not want to read about a girls fantasy romance or a guys ego driven road trip.
In short, to me a good zombie book is not about a guy and his ego.
It is about survival. I want to see everything about how they survive, oops wait. Remember that book we both read that you gave a five (or four) stars too and I gave it a two stars? You know the one where the main character talks rambles on and on about trivial stuff, including the number of urinals in the men bathroom? Calls his girlfriend everything but her name?
Yeah, ok I do not want to know about bathroom stuff.
So let me reword that, I want to know about the important survival stuff, food, shelter, companionship, motivations for living and so on.

OK I have rambled on enough here, lets see what others want to add. :D


message 7: by Who (new)

Who Mee (whomee) | 4 comments I like zombie books that have something different to offer… The last one I read had real Caribbean flair, with zombies created through voodoo. It was pretty realistic. The author really captured the island way of life, including a lot of folk lore and a bunch of insane guys that haphazardly try to deal with zombies. “Right now I am alive, and life is beautiful, but that isn’t meant to last. This is my time to fly, it’s meant to be like a shooting star. Painfully bright and amazingly beautiful, but brief. That is how it’s supposed to be. I think real courage lies in facing both life and death without fear.”
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...


message 8: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 2112 comments Here's a short story with a totally atypical hero (a mob hit man with his own sense of right and wrong), which I loved:

Lou vs. the Zombies by Jason Tucker Lou vs. the Zombies

...and a fun one with humor and the zombies have basic needs besides just eating people:

GUGGA by Jonathan Lambert GUGGA

But I love the humor (and the absurd action) in R.R. Haywood's The Undead Day # series. The action reminds me of the old gruff but lovable Zatoichi and Lone Wolf and Cub samurai series. The first book is a bit slow, but it picks up quite a bit with Dave in the second:

The Undead Day Two by R.R. Haywood The Undead Day Two


message 9: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) I just finished After - Part 1 (The Phoenix Curse) by D.R. Johnson
Definitely original characters, with an independent and capable female MC. Has a young male secondary MC character, which adds the multiple points of view element.
Not heavy on the gore.
It contains a wide range of emotions for the characters and readers a like. I'll be honest, I teared up a time or two.
It comes in at 153 pages so it's not too short, BUT it's a major cliffhanger. Grr!
It was free yesterday on amazon, but I do not know if it still is today.
If you haven't already grabbed it, you might want to do so today.
http://www.amazon.com/After-Part-Phoe...


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian McClellan | 294 comments I have to agree with Randy on the humor. I love to laugh and want at least a few chuckles in a book, even if it's just some occasional comic relief. Other than that I guess I'm petty easy to please. I'll take anything. If a book has a lot of action but not that much character development I'm fine with that or the other way around too. Gore, tension, twists, fast zombies, slow zombies- it's all good. I do kind of prefer a regular guy/gal MC, but it isn't necessary.

No one answered Tammy's question about the group founder. Does anyone know what's up with the mod here?


message 11: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Spears (rjspears) | 14 comments Like many of you, I like a little humor in my zombie books. Ones that get too serious can become quite heavy and hard to stick with.


message 12: by David (last edited Jun 14, 2013 01:32PM) (new)

David Rogers | 5 comments I like my zombies mindless - thinking zombies ARE NOT zombies! They can be monsters and scary and make for good stories, but they're not zombies if they have anything beyond an animal level of instinct. Zombies with feelings? Call me old fashioned, but no way.

I like my zombie stories funny - it helps break the tension and good humor is always appreciated.

I like my zombies slow . . . in literature. When I'm reading a zombie story, I want the slow shambling ones. They give the best opportunity for the characters to have time to ponder all the ramifications of the apocalypse. If I'm watching a zombie movie, sometimes I like them fast, but that's the movies.

I like zombie stories because seeing how characters deal with the apocalypse is interesting. Who wastes time disbelieving or panicking. Who wastes time crowing about how their paranoia is justified? Who runs, who hides, who fights, who dies?

And best of all, a zombie apocalypse is something that you can, sort of, fight! Nuclear apocalypse, bio-plague apocalypse, Alien Space Bat apocalypse . . . can't really fight those.

But a zombie apocalypse gives you a chance for cathartic release from time to time. Tension getting to you? Go take out some zombies; you'll feel better. Plus, in a zombie story, anytime things need a boost or a kick to get them moving, zombies attack! Nothing transitions from one scene to the next better than watching someone's face get eaten off by a decaying office worker.


message 13: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Spears (rjspears) | 14 comments I like the slow thoughtless zombies also. I sometimes think that that comes from a selfish perspective. I think I tend to place myself in the situation and fast, thinking zombies scare the crap out of me.


message 14: by Mike (new)

Mike | 48 comments I prefer my zombies slow and dumb, but fast is ok.
I want to know how, why and when this outbreak started.
I like strong character development.
I like when characters have to make tough, heart wrenching decisions especially when family members are involved.
Gore and Violence is a plus.
I love it when the military gets completely overwhelmed and destroyed by zombies.
Last Stands are always exciting.


message 15: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) Mike wrote: "I prefer my zombies slow and dumb, but fast is ok.
I want to know how, why and when this outbreak started.
I like strong character development.
I like when characters have to make tough, heart wren..."


You had me nodding in agreement until you got to the gore and violence :)


message 16: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) David wrote: "....I like zombie stories because seeing how characters deal with the apocalypse is interesting. Who wastes time disbelieving or panicking. Who wastes time crowing about how their paranoia is justified? Who runs, who hides, who fights, who dies?..."

Ditto


message 17: by Tammy K. (new)

Tammy K. (rambles_of_a_reader) R.J. wrote: ... I think I tend to place myself in the situation and fast, thinking zombies scare the crap out of me. "

Isn't that the best part! I want vivid descriptions and I want to feel like I AM in the middle of the action!
Too much narration destroys that.
I look for books where the author moves back out of the characters and plots way to let the 'scene play out' on the page.
I do not want to be told a story, I want to live the story. :)


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