Monday, August 12, 2013

Nine Zombie Book Secrets

Sorry, to disappoint you, there are no secrets.

But to write a good zombie book, the real secret is to have more going on in the story than just zombies getting killed or zombies eating people. It's like those movies, you know the ones that go on and on - one too many fight scenes is just filler and gets booooring. It means you ran out of story (and the scriptwriters got lazy or didn't care cuz they got paid anyway.)

** Some other thoughts: today 8/12 I'm at AR Von's Blog during the blog tour and giveaway. Stop by. (You can see pix of the prizes at day 1 of the tour.)

 Okay - divulging secrets: a few things I learned while writing, editing and re-reading (re-reading and re-reading) GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.

1. It's amazing how many ways you can think how to describe zombies, how gross you can get and still try to be funny at the same time.

2. Editing and constant re-reading turns you in to a zombie. After  a while you don't see the mistakes. I really am a good speler  speller. Really. But I can't believe the things I missed.

3. I saw a meme talking about gray and grey which made me laugh. It said: How to tell the difference: grey is England; gray is America.

Okay, why in the world did I keep writing grey then and have to change it? Maybe I wanted to be in England...

4.  Watch those modifiers and especially words with double meanings. A couple doozies that didn't get caught first time around. Nope, not telling!
5. Typos: They're inevitable try try as you might to be perfekt.

An author friend said if you open the book, the first thing you'll see is a typo. I didn't, but a reader told me of one. And it's a Spanish word, so if you don't know Spanish, it won't matter. You can infer the meaning from the text. And if you do, well, to my horror, an end letter got dropped. You'll understand as the phrase won't read right and should be translated to "I love you, I'll miss you..." I guess if it's just one, that's not too bad... It'll be fixed in Kindle and ebook; print will have to wait until the next printing.

6.  Now I know why you set a book in one or two places only. No need to figure it out on a map - and me being travel and map-challenged! No need to get characters from one state to another while not messing up landmarks. (Simple - name a few things as they move along. And don't be specific about a town so you can change it to suit your story.)

 The book may have scenes in Wisconsin and Illinois, in Lake Geneva and Chicago, but don't look them up. They're not like the places you know.

7. Don't over-complicate things. I've read many a book that explained the why's and how's of the zombie virus. But... I'm no scientist nor do I pretend to be. It was a lab mistake, people messing with what they shouldn't is my explanation. And isn't that really how many - most -  things start anyway?

8. Bugs. A big no for me, except maybe a couple maggots. Maybe. I hate bugs, and especially maggots. Yuck. But yeah, a zombie book has to have bugs.

9.  Disease is yucky, especially when it comes to rot and things falling apart. In my mind, no one really needs all the icky, gory details. Except for a couple small mentions, I figure readers can imagine the growing horror in their own minds when my character Becca says, "Yup. A sore." (Peeling pink edges... gray center... you get the picture.)

That's only a few of the things I thought to bring up. For now.

** Got some of your own writing tips or dare to share your mistakes?



Morgan Mandel said...

I know #2 intimately. That's all I've been doing lately is editing Blessing or Curse, and still find things to change!

Morgan Mandel

CA Verstraete said...

I know! It's crazy what you just don't see!

Debra St. John said...

I ALWAYS use grey instead of gray (just my preference) and my editors ALWAYS change it. -sigh- I guess I should learn...

Deb Larson said...

Isn't "grey" the Britsh version of "gray?" The little changes we make - make a big difference though.

Margot Justes said...

Agree, number 2 produces a zombie like symptom.