With zombies currently experiencing a hay-day in the public eye, there has been plenty of zombie fiction popping up all over the place. New authors are coming out of the woodwork almost every day. While both men and women have shown a talent for writing zombie stories, there are some key differences between the two sexes.
For the most part, male authors have dominated the zombie genre, though the women are really starting to make a name for themselves and gain a lot of readership. While both genders touch on all aspects, the way they highlight certain story elements is something not a lot of people have given much thought to.
It’s been a bit of a battle for women authors in the zombie genre to break out. While there have been a couple of female authors that have climbed the charts, such as Mira Grant, readers tend to give male authors more of a chance than they do female authors when it comes to selecting zombie reads. This could be because the horror genre has been traditionally dominated by men, though women are starting to claim their fair share of scares.
Perhaps the most prominent of differences between male and female zombie writers is the emotional aspects. Women tend to explore more into the emotive depth of the characters, diving down to what the zombie apocalypse experience is like on a personal level. Men tend to stick a lot more to the action and the battling, making the apocalypse more of a physical experience.
Female authors like to dive in to characters and ask what makes them tick on a deeper level than men general do, which gives them the edge on character development. While male authors can hash out very deep characters with a lot of layers, those layers tend to be closer to the surface and are uncovered a little easier. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for male authors, though. Men and women function differently, and that seeps out into their writing.
Men have the edge on women when it comes to action and zombie gore. In general society, women are brought up to hold back a little more than men are, and it shows in writing. Men get to the action sooner, and tend to dive right in without hesitation, while women tend to build up a little more before getting in to the action. For example, in the first draft of my novel, it was about fifteen pages before we saw any action. After having a male friend read and critique, I cut it down to have the action start about four pages in, and it made a big difference. Action is an area where women are quickly learning to hold their own, and we’re seeing a lot more in lady authors’ works.
Characters written by men tend to be a bit more blunt, while characters written by women tend to have hidden agendas. While they appear to be different on the surface, both of these types do have similarities- both make it easy to stir up conflict and tension, both can appear to be something they are not, and both can add extra layers to the stories.
There are some other key differences between male zombie authors and female zombie authors. Men tend to put more detail into the weapons, while women tend to put more detail into the settings. It’s far more likely to read about the mechanics of firearms in a zombie novel written by a man, with the exact bullet count and precise model mentioned. In a novel written by a female, it’s much more likely to have every bit of the scenery fleshed out, getting a clear picture of where the characters are and what they’re doing there.
Women (in writing and in general) tend to be more detail oriented than men. In a zombie novel written by a female author, the reader is more likely to see every finite bit of a zombie kill written out, while men tend to write more numerous kills. When it comes down to it, both men and women provide ample zombie battles and gore, but women tend to flesh out the battles more while men tend to create higher numbers of kills.
There’s also a couple of subtle differences between zombie fiction by men and zombie fiction by women. Men are more likely to have sex in their zombie novel (though it’s not always present) while women are more likely to have romance present in theirs, even though it’s usually a minor subplot. In zombie novels written by women, there tend to be more characters, while men usually keep it to two or three main characters.
It should be said, though, that the gap between men and women is closing when it comes to writing zombie fiction. Robert Kirkman, who is the author of “The Walking Dead” comics, tends to write in more plot and depth, while Amanda Hocking, who is the author of “Hollowland” and “Hollowmen,” has more battle and less emotion in her characters. As the genre grows and evolves, men and women pick up the best traits of the other gender and learn to incorporate those things in their own work.
While men and women do have different styles, both are enjoyable to read and display the many aspects of the zombie apocalypse that we all should think about. Even though it’s been a predominantly male-lead genre, we will certainly see more women making contributions to zombie lore and gore as time goes on. Readers should give a chance to both male and female zombie authors, as ignoring one gender means missing out a lot of great zombie fiction.
Stefanie Oberhansley is a horror author who gets easily scared. She was born and raised in southern California, where she earned her degree in film production. At the age of six, she was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer and not expected to live to see the age of eight.
A passion for the undead has led to the creation of several short stories and novels, and Stefanie is always developing and writing new ideas for stories.
For the month of October and November Stefanie is donating 50% of author profits from book sales to fighting cancer. Proceeds will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. (October marks her 19-year anniversary of being cancer free.)
It was just a mundane Saturday morning when Julia Henderson finds herself at Ground Zero of the most tragic event in human history- a supervirus as escaped a government testing facility, and it’s bringing the dead back to life to feed on the living. Surrounded by hungry zombies, Julia is thrust together with a group of strangers who must get past their differences in order to have a chance of survival. Whether her family is still alive is a complete mystery, and Julia will stop at nothing to find them, even if it means risking the lives of the strangers who saved her. In a world where simple mistakes can make the difference between life or death, it can be hard to tell whether hope is a driving force that keeps them alive or the emotional burden that will bring them all down.
STEFANIE OBERHANSLEY ONLINE
Stefanie is giving away ONE autographed paperback copy of Silence of Souls
For entry answer the Poll below then fill out the form:
Where do you think the zombie apocalypse would most likely start?
- A) The United Kingdom
- B) The United States
- C) China
- D) The Caribbean
- E) A third-world country
This giveaway is International and ends 12:00am GMT 30th November 2012