A member of my writing group shared this article with us: 10 Lessons from Real Life Revolutions that Fictional Dystopias Ignore. It was a pretty good read, so I’d thought I’d share it, especially since that’s the genre of the day.
That said, I wanted to add my own two bits: one, remember to brush up on The Human Predicament before you write about an overhaul of the government.
If you’re too lazy to do so, lemmie sum up for you: the more things change, the more they stay the same. You kick out one corrupt government, and another one moves in. You remember The Hunger Games? You know how Pres. Snow was an evil douchebag and he was totally corrupt? And for those of you who read the books, you know how wannabe Pres. Coin was equally corrupt and honestly just as much a douchebag in a different way? Yeah. You kill Snow, you get Coin. Or you shoot Coin and trample Snow and hope your world is slightly less craptastic, whatever. Either way you see in history that it’s only a matter of time before we rinse, wash, and repeat. I guess that’s just how humans are.
You also gotta remember – and this always bears repeating so I’m saying it even though it’s #9 on the link I posted – that just killing a figurehead isn’t going to do the trick. You think you kill the evil overlord and it’s over? He had, what, an entire evil empire? You think that just goes away when you kill the top guy? Hah.
Not that slaying the evil overlord isn’t a fancy way to end a book, but don’t leave off like everything is better when it’s not.
Finally, if you’re only writing a dystopia because they’re the soup de jour…you miiight want to look up what experts have to say about writing a soup de jour book in the middle of its popularity – usually, at least what I’ve heard, it’s “don’t” because it’ll be out of chic by the time you get it to market, so just a heads-up there. You can look to the vampire fad as an example. My own personal belief is that if you’re doing it because it’s Your Book, the One You Want to Write, then hey, write it. Vampire sci-fi dystopia that will be out of style tomorrow but is your passion – well, it’s gonna have your soul in it, right? So it’s still worth writing. But I also am not the person to take marketing advice from (what I said at the beginning of the paragraph is parroted from other people, not my personal advice) so y’know, maybe if you write something with all your love and passion, it’ll be turned away for being out of style…but it’s still my belief that you should write what you love to write, what’s in your heart trying to burst out. And maybe if you take the time to write a dystopia well with all these bits that always get ignored, you’ll stick out enough it won’t matter that there’s a million other dystopias out there, or if they’re even still the genre of the day.
A note – October is also Inktober – it’s like NaNo, where you ink a picture every day. I’m more a writer than an artist (though I can draw fairly well) so it’s something I’d normally ignore…but there’s a comic about mental illnesses that I keep thinking about and thinking about and feeling like I should really actually draw it. This means that I’m not planning on writing posts in October. I’ll see if Tyler can post some, but I’m going to put all my focus into making this comic.
Thanks for your support. Good luck bringing down the castle!