Describing Zombies in Writing: How Do You Do It?

Understanding how to describe zombies in writing can truly intensify your narrative. This guide will provide a creative and effective approach to defining these spine-chilling creatures.

Characteristics of Zombies

Any discussion of zombies must begin with their common features. These undead creatures are usually represented as:

  • Subordinate: They lack free will and are driven by external forces.
  • Rotting yet Ancients: Their animation is a representation of a single being, ususally humans, that are decaying and possess a desolate appearance.
  • Untiring: Zombies display occasional superhuman characteristics like increased strength and speed.

Zombie Appearances

How a zombie appears plays an immense role in the narration. You could describe them as:

  • Discolored: Skin tones range from greenish, purpling to blackened and ashen.
  • Eyes: Eyes are usually glazed or clouded over, sometimes burning with a disconcerting blankness.
  • Walking Style: Their movement is often wobbly, characterized by a dragging of feet due to rigid, old muscles.
  • Speech: The voice of the undead – if they can speak – typically quivers and lacks the essence of breath.

Zombie Controlled Environments

Finding the appropriate settings for your zombie characters can invigorate your story. Intriguing places where encounters can happen include: swamps, cruise ships, subways, churches, sanitariums, and others.

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Zombie Behavior and Skills

Understanding how zombies behave and what type of sensations they inflict are critical elements of your narrative:

  • Predatory Instinct: Zombies are primarily portrayed as carnivorous entities with an innate desire to feed.
  • Flesh Decay: The decaying flesh or the putrid skin of the undead is a common element in descriptions.
  • Sound: The sound they make can be best described as bone cracking and horrible grunts.
  • Smell: The odor of zombies is typically compared to toxic undertones, signaling disease and death.


The essence of describing zombies lies in the ability to craft vivid, bone-chilling images in the reader’s mind. By focusing on unique features, behavior, and environments, your zombie descriptions can amass a terrifically terrifying impact. Remember, the intent is to walk the fine line between horror and fascination. Now you can begin to describe zombies in your writing with more creativity and depth.

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