I'm not really an authority, I just have homework and I'm procrastinating. Take my advice with a grain of salt, this is just something I've been thinking about.1. Know your zombies.
Before you start, you should understand exactly how your zombies work and where they came from. Personally, I prefer the prion or virus type, though there are a lot of variations. Traditional voodoo, technological, drug, mind-control--I've seen all of these in fiction before. Read the book "Zombies vs. Unicorns," actually, it's got a good mix.2. Know your setting.
My personal recommendation is to write the story as though the pandemic began tomorrow
. Not twenty years from now. Not a hundred years from now. Tomorrow. Write with as much currency and reality as possible. This makes it crazy real and up close for your readers, and it provides a little more realism. You don't have to make up technology, at least. WWZ does a good job of illustrating reality in zombie fiction.3. Decide what you're getting out of this.
By which I mean, are you writing this story for gore? Romance? Action? Pick one, kiddo. I mean, okay, you can have all three, but one has to be dominant. Also, decide what you're trying to say. Do you want to talk about how people buckle under stress, or how we should be careful as a society about (I dunno) toxic waste? Whatever it is, make it clear while you write. Zombies for the sake of zombies are cliche; best not to simply make the apocalypse a plot device.4. Your characters are human.
I mean, unless they're not. But ASSUMING THEY ARE! The zombie apocalypse is like a pandemic plus a war plus a catastrophic event all wrapped up in one, and it's going to cause some serious trauma to your characters, especially if they're kids or young adults. I don't mean physical injuries, I mean emotional trauma. A zombie ate his parents? He shouldn't go on like it's nothing. He should have some issues about that. She had to shoot her boyfriend in the head? I think the reader needs to see her not sleeping for a while. Insomnia is a common plot device for me (for obvious reasons) but seriously, sometimes it's just the right response. Have your characters cling to things like rocks and bottlecaps and bibles. Have them talk about shows they liked to watch. Mention old pets. Do not forget the humanity of your characters!5. There are more roles in the ZA than just bashing heads.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you can't have every single person's primary function be "kill zombies." Some people are just not built to kill the undead. Have those who do, sure, but also have medics, scientists, cooks, moral support--people who are very important, but totally rubbish in the field. Talk about them. Live with them. Mention what they do and how they do it. Maybe I'm biased
because it's been stated a few times that I'm supposed to cure the zombie virus (*sweats*) but seriously, you need characters like that. Also, talk about politics, the economy, education. What's going on to help the common folk? Does the military move in? Is it helpful or nah? Again I refer you to WWZ, it does a fabulous job.
Okay that's it, stopping at five because I like that number. I want to write more of this stuff in the future, I tells ya
who does awesome zombie stuff with her cuties Kan and Cronus and to
who will probably save me from the zombies one day