The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….

What I’ve Learned About Writing From “The Walking Dead”

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Rick Grimes character wooden figure | Free Image from Pixabay.com

The Walking Dead is a comic book series (Image Comics) created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. You may also know of its television adaptation on AMC. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world that is overrun by walkers (the undead).

I’ve seen most TWD episodes but I’m sure there are a few episodes I’ve missed. I didn’t really start watching until maybe season 5.

Why? Because I have mixed feelings about this show.

I am not a fan of horror (for the most part). I got curious one summer when they were having a marathon on to celebrate an upcoming season that was to premiere soon (and I guess also to celebrate Independence Day in the United States). I watched one and then another and then another and before I knew it I was hooked. Scared but hooked – I sometimes have to turn the sound off or watch by peeking through my hands at certain parts.

So why am I talking about this?

This past Sunday was the mid-season premiere of season 7 of The Walking Dead, which was awesome to watch. My attraction to the show I think largely stems from its appeal to me as a writer. It incorporates so many good qualities that I always strive for in my writing. As a whole, the story is so well written and probably (in my opinion) one of the best programs involving “the undead” and one of the best in its genre – although nothing will ever be more terrifying to me than the PC game Outlast (Red Barrels Studio).

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an undead figure | Free Image from Pixabay.com

I’d also like to point out that I’ve only seen the TV show, have never read the comics, so please no spoilers.

Anyway, one thing I love about the show are the characters and their development. Each of the main characters have developed so well in interesting and sometimes horrifying ways. They are wholly dynamic and feel like real people experiencing real problems (literally and figuratively). Principal antagonists that the group has come across are equally fascinating to witness. Every character serves a purpose in their own unique way.

Pacing and suspense are important in any story and I think The Walking Dead has mastered this well. They keep people coming back for more, which is what a writer needs to project if he or she wants their book to be read – and if a series, continue. The show provides its moments of high energy and low energy at just the right intervals and length. It injects moments of comic relief where they would be most impactful, necessary, and successful. The music and situations add to the suspense, causing the viewer to anticipate something good is to happen or something completely terrifying and often chaotic. When crafting a story, the writer must take the reader on an emotional journey that’ll leave them invested and wanting to read on.

Sometimes in a story it’s easy to identify the who are the protagonists and antagonists. This holds true for the characters in The Walking Dead but with a twist. Not only must people try to survive in a world full of walkers but sometimes the bigger enemy is what remains of humanity (a likely and inevitable outcome). Groups clash time and time again during which the presence of walkers often complicate things. That kind of chaos and confusion on who is the real enemy or not knowing when danger will strike next reminds me of a book I just finished, Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley (read my review here). Conflict in The Walking Dead comes in all shapes and sizes and often unexpectedly. That’s the kind of tension that makes a great story.

Have you ever seen or read The Walking Dead? If so, what do you like most/least about it? Are there any movies or television shows you’ve gained writing tips from? Let me know in the comments below.

And, as always, happy writing!

~~~~~~~~~

“In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.” – The Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone By created by Robert Kirkman (Writer) and Tony Moore (Illustrator)

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