Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writing #Dystopian Fiction

I mentioned awhile ago that I'm taking my world building posts and putting them into a Dark Fantasy World Building book. I've been researching new topics for the book. Dystopian fiction is one of those topics. It's dark and it's similar to a post-apocalyptic world- the book addresses both topics.

I've been struggling with whether I should include this section. Adding a chapter on dystopias mean I need to tweak other parts of the book.

Dystopian fiction straddles sci-fi and fantasy with it leaning heavily towards sci-fi. My current WIP focuses on building fantasy worlds with technology, but it doesn't dive too far into the sci-fi realm. We'll see if I can make it work.

Dystopia (n): a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of a utopia.

Study 
All genres have characteristic. Start by finding out the traits of a dystopian novel. You don't have to just read . TV shows and movies are great sources of information.

Goodreads: Dystopia
Dystopian Anime (TV & Movies)

Think of the real world
Watch the news, read articles and follow current events. Dystopian fiction plays on our current fears like technology enslaving humanity or the wealthy running the world while the poor become their entertainment. If you’re afraid of government overreach, tell a story where the ruling body brainwashes people into perfect citizens. If you fear the government stepping back too much, write a world in which society is run by corporations who only care about making money.

Create realistic and relatable characters
"Remember that, although the characters have an emotional tie to contemporary readers, their thoughts and actions must be consistent with the society in which they live." Writing a Dystopian Novel: Balancing World-Building with Character-Building
This is true for any world. The characters need to be relatable for the readers to care about them. They also need to be realistic to the world.

It's not always ugly on the surface
When you think of a dystopian world, it may look like this:

It can also look like this:
Image Credit: Seed - Environment 7 
by Justinoaksford
A society that seems perfect on the outside but is rotten at its core is still a dystopia. I watched this one anime where all senior citizens were sent to this beautiful center to be killed for being old. Most citizens thought their grandparents/parents died peacefully.

It'll make an interesting story-- throwing a person who lives in this "perfect" world into the ugly part of society.

The world doesn't have to be power-less
The world can have people with powers.They will probably be the oppressed. They suffer prejudices because of their powers or they're forced to fight in wars. Or, you can switch it up. The people with power can be the majority and non-magic folk are the oppressed. 

What can go wrong?
People's lives in a dystopian world may be terrible but they've used to it. Depending on what side of the fence the character(s) are on, terrible can be their everyday life. So, where's the conflict? Something happens to interrupt the character's way of life. A missing sibling. They're charge for a crime they didn't commit and are on the run.


Defining The End of the World As We Know It: Apocalyptic vs. Dystopia vs. Spec Fic
Writing Dystopian Fiction: 7 Tips
Goodreads- Dystopian Versus Post-Apocalyptic Literature
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