It’s like Twilight, but with Zombies

Hanging out @ Melbourne Zombie Shuffle

Hanging out @ Melbourne Zombie Shuffle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago I was reading a post on Ned’s Blog, one of my favorite places for intelligent, thought provoking commentary. Oh, and humor, I like it for the humor as well. My review for a book that doesn’t actually exist was posted on March 21st. That’s the same day I invented the flux capacitor, and also the same day I had a conversation with a friend regarding topics for me to write a book about. My friend suggested a psychological approach to explaining the trendy fascination with zombies. I’m pretty sure that has been done. But it started me thinking about the popularity of Twilight and wondering if the same story could be told with zombies instead of vampires. The next day I read Ned’s post and I knew what I had to do.

It started with a comment on Ned’s post, to test the waters of the internet with my idea. If a zombie approach to Twilight would be successful then I would know by the response I received from one other adult male who had just written a spoof book review on the subject. The response was positive so I started writing. Initially I expected it would only take me a week to write a full parody of Twilight with zombies instead of vampires, but that was way too optimistic.

I love to write, but my usual style is observational commentary, or school assignments. I haven’t written short stories since middle school, maybe a few in high school. Until I set out to write Twilight with zombies the longest piece of fiction I’d ever written ended up at 9,000 words. That’s about a tenth of a decent length novel. I was a little too optimistic about my one week book writing. Although I didn’t finish the book in a week, I am still writing it. I never created an outline. I never made a list of characters (until into the third chapter when I forgot some of the characters I had created). My initial plan was to parody Twilight, but instead I wound up writing a story with a similar plot, and some parodied elements. What I’m trying to say is, I never worked out a plot.

That’s how I write. I just sit down and go. The story writes itself (if only that were really true). I’m eleven chapters into the story  now and it certainly isn’t turning out how I had originally conceived it to be in the vague way I originally conceived it. I’m happy with it. I hope other people will be happy with it as well. It isn’t a serious book, but it tells a serious story.

Twilight ripped off Joss Whedon’s vampire universe from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel was the brooding immortal who, having had his soul returned to him by Gypsy curse, was fighting evil and falling in love with teenage girls. Watch the early seasons of Buffy and tell me Edward wasn’t just a rip off of Angel. Angel drinks pigs blood instead of human blood! Anyway, between Whedon and Twilight and probably other writers whose works I’m not familiar with, vampires lost their scary monster status and became the hero. So I ask, why not zombies, too?

Everywhere we look zombies are slowly trudging along after one thing: your brain. I suppose in some of the newer representations the zombies are faster and more cunning than the original zombie manifestations, but they are still bloodthirsty and corpse-like. Why can’t zombies walk among us like the vampires in Twilight? Why can’t zombies look like people, be dead and reanimated, and eat cow brains instead of human brains? Why can’t a family of zombies settle in rural Texas, operate a cattle ranch and slaughter house, battle the CDC who is trying to contain the zombie-causing virus, and have a teenage daughter that develops a mutual romantic interest in a boy from school? These are important questions for our day, especially with so much interest in zombies for entertainment.

dimwit cover draftMy book will answer these questions, primarily the last one which sort of explains my story line. For now I’m calling the book Dimwit, see the early cover concept at right for how I came to it. I’m not married to the title though, and I think I’d like to come up with something different. I might add the title of this post as a subtitle to the book. I’m not sure yet.

I would like to complete the story within the next month and then work on revising it and editing. I don’t expect my story to become as popular as Twilight, primarily because I’m not a fiction writer. What I do expect is for half a dozen people to read my story and think about the media injustice towards zombies, how they are always cast in the monster light, even in this day and age when vampires have become the heroes. Zombies can be heroes, too.

If you’d like to know more about this story or my zombie construct, leave a comment below. your age

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About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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10 Responses to It’s like Twilight, but with Zombies

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    Found this via a pingback to my post (Why Do Zombies Want Brains) — my favourite part was the ending:
    “think about the media injustice towards zombies, how they are always cast in the monster light, even in this day and age when vampires have become the heroes. Zombies can be heroes, too.”

    Isn’t it interesting that as time goes on, writers and audiences are getting bored of the traditional monster/hero rules and are playing with expectations? If the ‘monsters’ are the heroes, then the people who hunt them are the villains … but we’re predisposed to sympathise with them because they’re human and probably doing it to protect their families. It’d be interesting to play with those dynamics in a novel.

    • paulbrodie says:

      Hi Miriam. Zemanta suggested your article as a related article. I read it and liked it so I added it here.

      I agree with you about the transformation from monster to hero in modern stories. Judgment is dependent on perspective and switching the traditional roles of hero and villain really mess with perspective. I haven’t thought about my story in this way, but it certainly could apply. Mostly I’m just trying to make fun of something, but there is often a deeper meaning in a story than just what is spelled out in words. Again, different perspectives will interpret the same thing differently.

      There is a movie that works with the swapped roles of hero and victim, but I can’t remember anything about it right now. It’s something where the story is told from the villain’s perspective so you sympathize with them before it is revealed that they are actually the criminal and you’ve been rooting for the bad guy all along. I wish I could remember what I’m thinking of. Anyway, it is an interesting dynamic for stories. Thanks for bringing it up!

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I’ll have to watch that if you remember what it is — it sounds interesting!

        It’s one of the reasons I love multiple POV stories, because they force you to see everything from everyone’s perspective. Books like Game of Thrones are clever: at first it seems clear who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad’, but after a while the lines are so blurred that it’s almost impossible to tell. I like things like that.

        Good luck with your novel 🙂

      • paulbrodie says:

        Multi-POV stories are cool. I still don’t know for sure what the movie I’m thinking of is, if there even is such a one, but I thought of Vantage Point when I was trying to recollect, and while that has a bad guy that you initially think is good, it’s not quite what we are discussing. It is a multi-POV story though, so if you haven’t seen it maybe you’ll enjoy it.

        I also asked my wife if she could think of a movie where you first think a person is good but then realize they are actually the villain, and she said Gone in 60 Seconds is kind of like that. I haven’t seen it myself, but she said Nicolas Cage plays a guy that is trying to save his brother, but to do it he needs to steal cars, so you are rooting for him to steal the cars, but then you realize, he’s breaking the law. So kind of the same thing but not. Maybe I’ll have to just write this type of story myself some day.

        Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Ned's Blog says:

    So glad to hear you are still pursuing this idea, Paul. I think there’s the potential for a lot of toungue-in-cheek parody, but also an opportunity to actually say something about a different kind of prejudice in the world that is all too real. For example, prejudice against humor columnists is rampant. Just the other day, I was at 7-11 and asked for a slice of cheese pizza that hadn’t been spinning under the heat lamp for more than six hours. The guy looked at me and said, “Is that supposed to be funny?” And that’s just one example. Looking forward to reading your parody. Feel free to incorporate the impotent teen zombie Richard Deadwood if the need arises… or doesn’t.

    • paulbrodie says:

      Ned, you say with words what others can only say with eyebrow movements.

      I will not rest until this story is finished, and by rest I mean start working on other book ideas. I’ll definitely be sleeping and having leisure time. I’m not a zombie, after all.

      Maybe I’ll cast Richard Deadwood as a school newspaper humor columnist who likes his convenience store pizza relatively fresh. Of course it takes place in Texas, so the pizza will have to be beef ribs or something.

      I’m glad I wrote this post to announce what I’m working on. Both comments it has received so far have given me ideas for how to actually put some meaning into the story. I think there may be meaning in it now, but I haven’t taken the time to figure it out yet. So now the two of you have done it for me. That’s always helpful.

      I like how I can write something with one intent and then someone reads it and asks if I meant something entirely different. To which my mind responds in Keanu Reeves fashion, “whoa, I never even thought of that before.” And my mouth responds, “of course, that’s just one of the many underlying themes I wove into the story. My writing is like a five layer bar, it has chocolate, peanuts, coconut, evaporated milk and either caramel or dried fruit. You just happened to notice the coconut.”

      • Ned's Blog says:

        Keanu Reeves, zombies and coconut all in the same post is the mark of a true genius. Not easy to pull that off. Intentionally or not, you just set the bar extremely high for your Twilight Zombie story…

      • paulbrodie says:

        I hear you only get one moment of true genius in life, I hope I didn’t just spend it all on a comment on my own blog post. Oh well. That’s how life is sometimes. Sometimes your pizza is fresh, other times its been under the lights for a fortnight.

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