July 21, 2015

Plot and Zombie Fiction by Julie Dawn

I started writing Yosemite Rising when my marriage was on the edge of ending. It saved me. I wasn’t thinking about publishing or agents then. It was something to occupy my sleepless nights watching the moon coasted through a sea of stars. I wasn’t paying attention to the rules of writing. I wrote to keep myself looking at the stars instead of the ground.

Once I reached 20,000 words and gotten to the farthest part of the story I could see, I turned to the publishing industry to guide me further. In some ways it was the worst thing I could’ve done, but in every way I learned so much.

Literary people love to rip apart a plot, dissect it, look for all the parts required to create and execute a good story. I agree there are certain parts that you need, but how you get them—has to be your own journey. 

One of the most emphasized things you come across for crafting that perfect book is plot. 

I tried organizing plot with post-it notes. 

Then I printed out the whole book and laid out the pages by scene, then tried to organize them. 

In the process, I found out that I don’t enjoy plotting, at least not to the extent of pinpointing each bump along the road (like the snowflake effect). For me, the act of writing and storytelling looses its magic if the writer knows what’s going to happen.  

Every scene should add a twist to the story. It’s exhausting, but without it I would bore myself.  

When I sit down to write, I have a beginning, an idea of the huge plot twist, and the end. Everything else is a surprise. That’s what makes all the sleepless nights worth it.

Since I started writing, at least eight different plots swirl in my head at a time, all different stories. Some have been there a few years now, waiting, fighting to be told next.

I’m looking forward to discovering all the little things about them along the way.

And when I feel like I’m doing it all wrong—like I’m the only one who thinks plotting kills all creativity, I re-read On Writing by Stephen King.  He says:

“Plot is, I think, the good writer’s last resort and the dullard’s first choice.”
And for a moment, I feel good about breaking all the rules. 

Find more from Julie Dawn: 
Website: Julie Dawn

Amazon Author Page: Julie Dawn at Amazon 

Goodreads Author Page: Julie Dawn at GoodReads 

Facebook: Author Julie Dawn

July 14, 2015


Cliche or or Not Cliche

The past few years have been awash with zombie fiction. While it is evident, given book and film sales, that this particular niche-genre hasn’t lost its luster, most of the die-hard fans are begging for something new. 

The problem is it’s getting more difficult with each published work to get away from writing the same thing that a rival author has printed. With each story, something is the same as in another story. A character, a setting, a plotline. 

Tell it once and it’s great. Twice it’s redundant. Three times it’s cliché’, and it just gets worse from there.

So, as writers, what are we to do? 

Come up with new stuff. 

Yes, easy to contemplate, but difficult to exercise. We are running out of fresh perspective, and many concepts that we envision are 
 already out there, or will be before we go to print.

I’m one of those die-hards mentioned above, and you know what? I really enjoy ninety percent of the stories I read in this genre. I love these tales because at their core they are all terrifying. A disease that turns us into them.

What if we made the old stuff new? Put a new face on it. 

One cliche is the motorcycle gang. Who puts evil motorcycle gangs in zombie stories anymore? I put them in a story recently and people loved it. To be fair, some people loved it because I put a new spin on it, but some others ripped me a new one for using bikers. 

I tried to embrace the cliché, using it to my advantage.

Typically, gangs are intent on continuing or profiting from the already rampant death and destruction resulting from a ZPOC. Not so much in my novel.  
“…no self –respecting, homicidal scumbag would ride some of the bikes in the procession. There were big touring bikes, rice rockets, and even a Ducati racing motorcycle with the Harleys. There were women and kids, and even a bird in a cage. These were families.”
 My biker gang was anything but evil. They were good people looking to help others.

Overall the story was well received, and I realize that pleasing everyone is impossible, but still my attempt to turn cliché on its back failed in some eyes, and I was driven to re-effort my attack on a lack of original thought. 

This division of good to bad reviews fueled my attempts to infect the reviewers that disliked the cliché with something different that they might enjoy. 

I started late with writing, but I’m going to finish strong. In addition to new concepts, I’m going to make the cliché work for me, and quite frankly, I hope you do too. I have an intrinsic love for the zombie tale, and if I do, so do others. Let’s make them happy.

Rich Restucci is a practicing chemist living in Pembroke Massachusetts. He resides with his lovely wife, three children, and a permanent hangover. He enjoys drinking beer, stocking up on weapons and supplies, playing with explosives and reading/writing anything zombie related.

His first novel, Run is now available.

Rich's work can be found on the fiction section of Homepage of the Dead, or you could check out his blog on Zombie Fiend.com. Rich has been fortunate to have a few stories published, one in the anthology Dead Worlds 7, two in the anthology Feast or Famine: A Banquet of Tales for the Zombie Prepper.

July 9, 2015

Excerpt from Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies by Jessica Robinson

I had always wanted to write nonfiction about zombies, but I was never sure what to say. When I finally figured it out, I jumped into the research head first. I often laughed at myself because I would read text books and enjoy them. How many people can say they like reading textbooks?


Excerpt from Undead Obsessed: Finding Meaning in Zombies

by Jessica Robinson

In my experience, one of the primary concerns people have when it comes to the study of science and experimentation is that the scientist is conducting his research without any guidance from authority figures. Visions of a mad scientist who wants nothing but fame and glory working in a dark, secret lab may come to mind. As the previous chapters point out, this stereotype is prevalent in many films.

Zombie stories and films bring to the forefront the fears of society. No doubt, Victor Frankenstein had a board of professors and physicians that he had to answer to, but that only caused him to conduct his experiments in secret. Once he was successful, he was ashamed and hid what he’d done from the world. What if his creation hadn’t turned out to be a disappointment? Would he have shown it off to the world and changed the course of human existence?

Scientists often want to find ways to make life better. More often than not, they do. Technology has played a huge role in improving daily life and medical advances make us healthier and allow us to live longer than our ancestors. The one thing scientists haven’t achieved, however, is conquering death.

Death is inevitable. Everything and anyone that is alive will eventually die. It can’t be stopped, and it can be a very frightening prospect. In most cases, the person is not aware of how they will meet their end; they are subject to the course of nature. To cope with these fears, many people turn to religion. It gives them a sense of peace and something to look forward to after their time on Earth has expired. Rarely do people turn to science for comfort, and if they do, it’s not necessarily to cheat death completely, but rather to find ways to extend life by finding cures to diseases.

If horror has shown us anything, it’s that living for eternity isn’t that appealing. If there’s anything worse than death, it’s being undead. There are repercussions that come with living
forever, such as seeing loved ones die or having to drink the blood of the living to sustain life. Living for eternity means that you become a monster. It is a perversion of the natural order. In
most cases, vampires are lucky enough to retain their memories and a semblance of their previous humanity. But zombies are nothing but walking corpses with no memories and zero free

Yet, some people are driven by the desire to find a way to circumvent death. Victor Frankenstein is successful in bringing a corpse (or various corpses stitched together) back to life. The task consumed him and took years to accomplish, but the creature was alive when he finally was successful. During the creation process, Frankenstein was focused on making his being perfect and beautiful.

Learn More about Jessica Robinson (AKA Pembroke Sinclair)

Jessica Robinson also writes fiction using the pen name of Pembroke Sinclair. 

Visit her blog and social media accounts to learn more.

July 2, 2015

Zombie Book of the Month, July 2015

Timothy W. Long

Comments on  Z-Risen and being selected as

Zombie Book of the Month

Timothy W. Long was selected as July's feature for the Zombie Book of the Month Facebook Group.  He kindly addressed his readers with the following message.

Hi friends!

Thank you all for selecting the Z-Risen series for the Zombie Book of the Month. 

These books were born out of a conversation I had a few years ago while tossing back beers with my friend Craig DiLouie. So, like all ideas born out of beer and laughter, I started the novels. 

I wanted  to write a series about a Navy Engineer, Jackson Creed, who likes to bash in Z's heads with a large pipe wrench. Then I added in a Marine named Joel "Cruze" Kelly to round out the book and give the main character a pal with a clue as to how to fight zombies. I also added in a little humor to balance out the horror.

Much to my surprise, the series has been very well received. I want to thank the admins for nominating my book and to you all for selecting it!

A little about me... I am not a full time writer (yet) and work by day in the IT field. I have two grown children, a pair of dogs that include the delightful 'Manslayer' who is an 8lb ball of sheer pure terror. 

During my free time I write and spend every spare moment I can with my lovely girlfriend Katie Cord

You can find out more about my work on my website: http://timothywlong.com.