Zombie books are an extremely popular genre. They're also one of the oldest genres in literature, and they show no signs of slowing down. With that said, it's understandable why many people might be interested in writing a zombie book themselves!
I'm going to share with you eight easy steps for writing a zombie book the people want to read and one which stands out amongst the crowd. It's not as hard as it may seem, and the best part is that anyone can do it!
In order to learn how to write a zombie book, there are some things you need to know first.
- 1) Who Is Your Audience
- 2. What Type of Zombie Story Will You Tell?
- 3. Who Will Your Protagonist Be?
- 4. How Much Do You Know About Zombies?
- 5. Developing Your Backstory
- 6. Decide What You Want To Convey And Communicate
- 7. Don't forget about the obstacles the protagonist faces.
- 8. Know What Makes A Good Fight Scene
1) Who Is Your Audience
The most important thing is your audience - who will be reading your story? You should know your audience before you write a single word. You may be writing for children, teenagers, or adults. There are horror zombie books and comedy zombie books.
You might want to target people who have never read a book in their life as well as people who like to stay up late reading all night long! Once you figure out the type of person you're trying to reach, it's easier to decide what story will work best for them.
2. What Type of Zombie Story Will You Tell?
Next, think about what type of zombie story you want to tell. This will be much easier to do once you know who your target audience is. You can draw inspiration from old horror movies, popular TV shows like The Walking Dead, or even classic zombie films like Night of the Living Dead.
This is a genre with lots of sub-genres, so you want to do your research before jumping into writing. You should have an idea about what type of zombie story would interest the reader the most and which one you feel passionate about.
3. Who Will Your Protagonist Be?
Once you know what type of story you want to tell and who your target audience is, it's time to think about who will be the protagonist in your book.
If you're writing a children's book with zombies as cuddly pets or lego people that take on adventures together instead of hunting humans for food, then maybe an 11-year-old school child who has a secret he or she is trying to convince his or her friends of without sounding crazy.
Or, maybe you want to tell a gritty story about one family's fight for survival in the zombie apocalypse. In that case, your protagonist could be a 15-year-old girl who is struggling with the idea of going out into the open to scavenge supplies or find help after she loses her parents.
🌟 Tip 🌟 Brainstorm Ideas You can start by jotting down ideas on how your protagonist could survive in their new world.
4. How Much Do You Know About Zombies?
A good tip to writing an awesome zombie book is to research the origins and history behind the concept. Zombies are actually rooted in Haitian culture and folklore.
Most people believe that they were created when the first slave ships from Africa arrived in Haiti, where a zombie is one who has died but was brought back to life by a bokor (a person who practices black magic).
Researching this might help you build out your story and concept for things such as;
- Where did the zombies come from?
- Who are they after?
- Where is the story set?
5. Developing Your Backstory
There are so many places a good zombie book can start and so many ideas that you can play around with to develop your backstory. For example, in Resident Evil, the zombies are created by the T-Virus. This "T-virus" was man-made and developed in a lab.
Designing the story in this way, instead of having zombies just randomly "wake up" and start walking around, allowed the writer to flesh out a more intense and complicated storyline.
So again, when developing your backstory, once you have an idea of where and when your story takes place, make sure that it has enough content to sustain an entire novel, which led up to the world being ravaged by zombies, and where does it lead after?
6. Decide What You Want To Convey And Communicate
Another key to developing a successful zombie novel is understanding what you as the author want to communicate with your work. In my opinion, zombies are often used as a metaphor for society's reliance on consumerism and material goods.
They're also used as an analogy for war or natural disasters, but they can be much more than that! With the right backstory and purpose, you'll have something worthwhile that people will want to read about again and again. And something that may be worthy of turning into a series or movie, who knows?
7. Don't forget about the obstacles the protagonist faces.
A high-quality zombie story is never solely about the undead coming for the un-undead... There is usually another obstacle the protagonist has to face.
This could be traveling across the city or country to save a loved one. Or find out who is behind the epidemic and putting an end to it. But you can't just make this obstacle a normal, everyday thing.
Zombies should not be the only issue at hand; otherwise, the protagonist doesn't really have much to live for!
8. Know What Makes A Good Fight Scene
This is something that often gets skipped over. Many writers will build their plot and characters but do not consider that their zombies are characters, too. And that what is happening every time a character has a confrontation with one is a fight scene!
Consider that your zombies could be completely brain dead and just chasing human flesh. Or... what if they are capable of learning and combat? Brainstorming on your backstory will help you decide how your characters will interact with the zombies and how the zombies might respond.
Writing a zombie book can be a lot of fun, and it's something I think most people would enjoy. Plus, the genre has been around for decades now, so you're not really going out on a limb with your ideas! Now that you have a good idea of what your zombie book is about, how to write it, and why people will want to read it, get started!
The world needs more great stories. Write one today.