FAQ : Are Zombies Overdone

In a forum this morning, a fellow writer said they came up with an idea, and thought of setting it in a zombie apocalypse. They wanted to know if zombies were overdone.

My Response:

Zombies are a bit over done at the moment, but they go in and out of style just like witches, vampires, and werewolves. I believe “witches” are the current hot thing, or so I keep hearing.

The thing is, you should write what you love, because that love will shine through. So what if the market has too many zombie stories. Your first job is to write, worry about markets later.

Second, if you could take the zombies out and replace them with anything else and still have the same story, then really it isn’t going to matter. People will come for the story, not just the monster of the day.

Lastly, Even if they are over done, there will always be people who love them. Write it, publish it, and it might find a small audience now, and a larger one later when zombies become the “thing” again.

But really, just write what you love.


14 thoughts on “FAQ : Are Zombies Overdone

  1. I totally agree that you should write what you love. However, if you can find another kind of monster that might fit, it might make the story even better. There are lots of monsters out there, so only using 4 at the moment seems a bit limiting.

    Or you can alter zombies to make them more interesting. Like that the zombies are actually fast and infected in 28 Days Later or are smart in Warm Bodies.

    • Dan Brown writes to market. I hear he sells a lot of books, too. But, as I understand it, his books are very formulaic.

      I suppose when I say “write what you love” you could interpret that as writing for money if that’s what you love. I want to make money, but I also want to write what I’m passionate about.

      • 99% of the time you can find something you like to write and have it be in a market that is good enough to sell books and make money.

        I have always written. But when I made the choice to make it a job, I started treating it as such. I chose genres I liked that I knew had a market that was ongoing, stable and possible to make a full time living in. That is not epic fantasy, my favorite genre. I made the choice to pick something I enjoy (although no where near as much as Epic) and write in it (urban) because it was the better market.

        If you are writing as a hobby. Cool. Go write whatever you want. Humor. YA. Whatever it is. Those are terrible e-book markets, but if you like it, write it.

        If you are seriously trying to make a full time living and run a long term business. That is TERRIBLE business. At least for how the market is now. I’d rather make the smart business call, make my money doing something I like, then sit back and do something i LOVE for the next 30 odd years.

        Sacrifice. Plain and simple.

      • I think YA is a pretty hot. Hunger games, Harry Potter, and a number of other books come from there. A lot of them fantasy.

        And I agree that it is a terrible business to write just what you love. But here is the thing… some people CAN’T write in the hot markets. Or, like me, they enjoy writing short stories or flash fiction, neither of which sell well.

        I mean, seriously, erotica is where there really hot market is, and I can’t write erotica to save my life. I can’t even write a true romance, I have to tone it down to a “paranormal romance” because I enjoy, and I’m fairly good at, writing in fantasy worlds. Maybe some day I’ll be able to tackle an actual romance, or erotic book, but right now it’s not possible. So I write what I love, write the stories that come to me, not force something that would be awful anyway, and I keep writing because eventually, with enough titles, something is going to strike someone’s fancy.

        There is an element of luck in there too. “Wool” came out of left field, and wasn’t really like anything else at the time. “50 Shades” was totally out there. But they sold.

  2. As for Dan Brown – I have no idea, I haven’t read his books. Most thrillers are formulaic. In fact almost all best sellers are in any genre. Why? Because that is what readers expect. If they don’t follow proper structure and formula, people generally don’t like them.

    That is why story and structure trumps art on the sales lists, about nine out of ten times. Nobody got rich selling art. Not until they died anyway.

    • Just to defend Dan Brown for a second, I’ve read his stuff. It’s well written, well researched and moves quickly. He makes up a lot of stuff, which he got in trouble for in the DaVinci Code, but he is writing fiction after all.

      I don’t read thrillers, but I do read his books. They’re the equivalent of Harry Potter, in my opinion. Books so good that they get people from outside genres to read them.

      I get why people don’t like him. He uses short chapters and a lot of cliff-hangers. His books are all motion and not much substance under that. None of the characters are deep, really.

      A good movie analogy would be Christopher Nolan, I think. Both create incredible spectacle and both are lacking something in the character depth department. He’s not Michael Bay, though. There’s more to his books than that.

      • I’ve never actually read his work, just watched the movies. And I enjoyed the movies. I enjoy reading formulaic books sometimes. I’ve got nothing against Dan Brown, personally.

        And anything that gets people reading is okay in my book.

      • Yeah, I enjoyed the movies too. They dropped all the historic stuff from the movies, though. The books are 150K+ words, I think, so they had to drop a lot. The main plot is pretty much the same in both, though.

        I’d recommend giving one of them a go, whenever you have the time 🙂

      • Sure, I’ll just add that to my list of books I should read, lol.
        I view movies as an easy way to take in books I don’t have time to read. There are so many good ones out there… and it’s kind of sad when you realize how few you can actually get through in a life time.

      • Yeah, I’m finding less and less time to read too. When I’ve just been writing, it’s kind of the same experience as reading. So I don’t really want to do more of it after.

        I am reading “Confessions of a Monster Hunter” by Eric Guindon at the moment and it’s awesome. You can add that to the list too 🙂

      • lol, I bought that when it came out. Definitely wanting to try it out.
        I find reading encourages me to write, so I try to read a couple books a month. But I’m fairly slow at both writing and reading apparently, so I have to pick and choose a little more.

    • Thomas Kincade is extremely wealthy. But it’s also because he does a formula painting. It’s also why other artists hate him.
      However, there are a lot of nationally celebrated artists who do fantastic work, and make millions, doing things that are completely different then anyone else.

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