Writing And Reviews – The Path To Self-Awareness

Here is the latest review for The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever.

Common Cold Cabin Fever cover 1-12-13“Zombie fiction could get boring if new elements aren’t occasionally added.  Fast zombies are terrifying and, realistically, would probably eradicate humans rather quickly.  Thinking zombies – meaning those who could work out hunting strategies – would be another nightmare. And zombies who can telepathically communicate with each other would be beyond imagining. (SPOILER ALERT)  Roberts gives us a taste of each of these scenarios, thereby keeping even a seasoned zombie apocalypse fan eagerly turning the pages.  Only an extremely creative writer would dare write himself into such a corner. To find out how Roberts extricates himself from that corner, you’ll just have to read the book yourself.”

I like it not because it is excellent (although I have to admit it made me feel good – thanks Kathryn B!) but because this reader understands my drive to create something different in a very over-subscribed genre. If you can’t experiment with your writing, there is little point in continuing. Writing the same old gore fest time and time again would not only be dull to read but dull to write – a completely self-defeating enterprise.

Zombie EasterI have downloaded zombie books in the past only to find them unreadable because they mistake gore for a story line. I have also read some very creative works which were in themselves quite a simple affair (Zombie Easter – Devin Coldwell) but I still remember them because their theme or content were original and didn’t take themselves too seriously – fun to read. The other thing to recognise is that the best books are those where the author recognises his or her limits and writes about what they know. A good example of this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by W J Lundy. He is a serving US soldier based out in the Middle East somewhere and his book content is plausible and even better, credible. Try him.

WTFI encourage anyone I meet that wants to talk books to have a go at writing one. Even if it only remains a Word document on your laptop, it can be a quite cathartic exercise, getting your feelings out of your head and onto paper, so to speak. Having written 5 books with a 6th about to be published, my ability to express myself and observe what is around me has increased dramatically. I would also say that I notice days as they pass now, previously one week was pretty much like the last, the 5 day work cycle had become mesmeric and a little stultifying.

As for reviews, if you do get past the ‘I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read it’ mentality and publish your work, be prepared for the cruel reviewer. There are plenty of people out there quite ready to tear up other’s good works. They are usually sad, small minded individuals who have never created anything in their lives. The other sort is the pedant. Never get into an argument with one; if ever anything was self-defeating, it’s trying that one on for size. I have been fortunate with my reviews; I’ve received the odd low one but I have been more than ratified by those people who genuinely appreciate what we writers try to do – entertain. Of course, there is also a realisation that if you have bad review after bad review, it is just possible that your book needs some more work. Never just ignore a criticism, they help you grow.

Above all, next time you think something interesting, put it on paper, don’t lose it! It makes a great starting point for something that might benefit us all.

Zombie books by David K Roberts:

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle

UK          USA       Canada Australia

The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)

UK          USA       Canada Australia

Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle (sequel due in a couple of weeks)

UK          USA       Canada Australia

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2 Comments

  1. Great insight into the genre. Gore for story is a big problem in horror whether it’s zombies in the forefront or vampires, ghosts and werewolves, oh, my. I like how you brought up about writing ourselves in a corner. That’s a good one for a pantser!

    1. Thanks Jack
      It probably comes over as sacrilege, but I don’t think it matters what the devil creature is (although I do prefer zombies), the story is the memorable bit.

      I like writing myself into a corner – it makes my imagination work so much harder. I think our biggest challenge it to keep our work fresh – hence why I’m going grey 🙂
      David

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