In 2003, a film came out that really changed my view on zombies and the end of everything, and I think it sparked a lot of imaginations to hop on the zombie apocalypse train. That film was 28 Days Later.

Of course, by that time, zombies were nothing new, but fast zombies were. And they were a whole new animal in a way, weren’t they? They could run! No more being able to outrun them unless you were some sort of athlete or desperate on a burst of adrenaline.

Those zombies ignited my imagination.

They were diseased, they came from a laboratory mishap when animal rights activists unleashed RAGE into the world. Oopsie. And they eliminated the UK a fair bit in less than a month.

But it gave me ideas. Eventually, it helped shape me into the writer I am now. Not just about zombies, mind you, but about everything.

Although I’m not quite sure what to do with this guy.
Image courtesy of Flikr.

There’s a certain amount of drudgery in writing when one starts to think, ‘oh, this has all been done before and there’s nothing new under the sun, and I better finish that pasta before it goes bad.’ (Because admit it, you think about things that aren’t really related.) It’s true, everything has been done before and we might as well get used to it. So when you have a relatively new twist on an old idea, it gets exciting!

And that’s what fast zombies did for me: they made me realize that, no matter what I wrote, I could add my own little twists and turns and make it new to my readers, and even new to me. Not just fast zombies, but everything. I could take my influences, and build on them from there. It’s not about stealing someone’s ideas; that’s not right. But it is about saying, “I want to write a story about X, but so-and-so did it. How could I play with that theme and make it my own?”

That’s what Zombie Bites is about. Writers from all over contributed to this anthology with their own take on what zombies are all about. These stories are all by authors who are ignited by their passion for horror. I’m glad to be one of them.

When people ask me my inspiration for the story, a big part of it comes from 28 Days Later, but I made those zombies my own. The film’s content might not be reflected in my story, but the idea of the film is. That I could look at something that had been done before in a whole new light. I didn’t have to rehash anything.

So if you feel like you’re stuck when you’re writing, and your idea doesn’t feel all that original, take a lesson from 28 Days Later. Sometimes all it takes is an adjustment of one little detail to breathe new life (ha!) into just about anything.

Anne Hogue-Boucher is a relatively sane person who enjoys a good game of tiddlywinks with her zombie who has finally gotten out of the hamper. You can follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.