When it comes to writing a gory scene for one of my zombie stories, I think about where I am in the story and how the scene propels the story forward. There is a method that I use and I find that it really helps:
- First I have to decide on which characters are necessary.
- Will any of them become hurt, killed or so badly injured that it will lead to a later conflict?
- Determine the best method or methods to describe the action sequence(s).
- What style of combat will be used?
When it comes to each scene I like to keep my protagonist, Orlando, in every part of the story. The zombie world that I created is just as new to him as it is to my readers; it is what they share on the journey. As for the other characters, they may not be as lucky as Orlando. None of them have a guarantee and I think that’s what keeps things exciting when writing these scenes because any one of them might fall and by fall I mean die.
After I decide on who will be in the scene I move onto the next phase: who will be hurt, killed or maimed? This is really important as it will push the story forward and could have a huge impact on the characters that remain. This could create conflict, guilt, a sense of betrayal and so much more.
Will one of them die to save the other? And if so, how will it occur? With a zombie story/tale there is so much room to create and be imaginative. There are a few characters in The Zombie Story that have magical capabilities and they use these abilities to defend themselves. Others are not so lucky and have to rely on brains and brawn. This gives me plenty of room when I am describing the action sequences as it leaves enough scope for the unexpected.
The style of combat is really important; I do not like to be repetitive. Let’s face it, we read zombie tales because they are a form of escapism and they are just plain fun. Tone and setting are a factor. The series that I write is based in Los Angeles and because L.A. is a mix of different cultures, which in turn have all been fused right along each other, meaning that the setting is a constant state of change. I take full advantage of this richness of diversity. One of the scenes I wrote was in China Town where an illicit ring of underground zombie fighting took place.
Even with my own training as a martial artist, I consulted an expert – my instructor, Grandmaster Jim Furtado – about his own experiences in the ring. He talked about the different things that would run through his mind before he stepped into the ring and what his thought processes were. He developed a different mentality as a trained fighter.
While I worked on the scene for the underground fight ring sequence I focused in on copying this mentality. This was done so my protagonist, Orlando’s first step into this world would show that, in spite of his being completely terrified, he had to present a façade showing that he was in complete control. Was he in control? Not at all.
Did I mention his opponent was a zombie? The fights were actually cruel to the zombies, as they were used for sport. After all, zombies were people too! (But that’s another post.) As this was Orlando’s first actual fight with a zombie, I couldn’t make it easy for him. It had to be a challenge. He did manage to wound his zombie opponent in the eye, which only made the zombie pull the eyeball out in a rage and fling it at Orlando. This fight was not going as Orlando had planned; he was a poor match for the zombie which gave the spectators exactly what they wanted. Blood. They didn’t attend to see Orlando or anyone else beat up the zombies, they wanted to see a zombie in action. They wanted this done in a controlled setting, yet close enough to see the blood and sweat.
The style of fighting I chose for this was boxing. Boxing is an up close contact sport that focuses on strategy and Orlando needed strategy if he was going to survive. But how could Orlando use this method with a zombie who had no method or motivation other than one, which was to eat? The zombie didn’t care how that was accomplished as long as it got the job done.
When writing a gory scene I know it has to consist of challenges. If I made it easy, my readers might feel cheated and I knew I would be cheating my characters as well as their story. So I love to switch things up, such as creating carnivorous zombie bulls and monkeys.
It’s not an easy task to impress a zombie fan; in fact it’s extremely difficult because they have read it all, but, they are an amazing audience.
I’d like to thank Carolyn, here at Book Chick City, for inviting me to participate with 30 Shades of Zombie!
M.M. Shelley is a native of southern California, and a student of mythology from which she gets much inspiration.
The Zombie Story (The Chronicles of Orlando #1) – Unfolding on the streets of Los Angeles is a new breed of monster… Orlando, fresh from the mid west, arrives at hisnew high school on his Harley Davidson. All he wants is to make it through the day, and begin his training as a Zombie Hunter. But someone has different plans for him. The Zombie Story is the first novella in a young adult series.
Dead Relatives (The Chronicles of Orlando #2) – After discovering what was hidden in Mexico and having to sneak back across the border Orlando returns to Los Angeles, but is unable to return to his home. Instead of hunting Zombies he is now hunted. Betrayed by those he thought he could trust, Orlando must keep the truth of what he knows to himself. That is until dead relatives return with dire warnings.
M.M. SHELLEY ONLINE
MM is kindly giving away TWO set of e-books of The Zombie Story and Dead Relatives & ONE paperback set of both books.
To enter please leave a comment for MM then fill out the form below.
This giveaway is International and ends 12:00am GMT 30th November 2012