Looking at the news these days, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were reading fiction. The latest near-future disaster story, or cautionary tale. It’s no wonder that dystopian fiction continues to soar in popularity. Whether it’s as recent as The Hunger Games or a re-telling of a classic, such as The Handmaid’s Tale, when faced with climate change, political instability, and unabashed bigotry to the point of seeing Nazis walk the streets unimpeded, we turn to these stories. They give us a sense of control; allowing us to re-frame the chaos around us in a condensed, absorbable package.
It’s a bad idea to latch on to the latest market genre trends and try to make your work fit that – publishing just moves too slowly and trends change too quickly – but if you find yourself drawn to dystopian fiction, here are some sources of advice and wisdom:
1: Dystopian or Not Dystopian? – There can be a lot of confusion over what is and is not dystopian, so first of all, read this article to make sure you know which genre you’re writing.
2: 5 Works You Need to Stop Calling Dystopian – A related article to the first, this one lists five popular works of fiction commonly (and incorrectly) referred to as dystopian.
3: How to Build a Dystopian World – As with much speculative fiction, it is essential for the writer to understand and develop, at least for themselves, how their dystopian world works. More so than a lot of other genres, it is the world itself against which your heroes will pit themselves, so take the time to build a solid, vibrant setting.
4: Writing Dystopian Fiction – Writers’ Digest provides 7 great tips for your work.
5: 8 Dystopian Plot Clichés That Will Bore Your Reader to Tears – Every genre has its tropes and clichés, and with dystopian fiction to prevalent these days, you’ll need to be sure to avoid using the ones that have become tired and over-used.
6: The 10 Most Important Dystopian Books and Films of All Time – Finally, if you’re going to write dystopian, you need to immerse yourself in the works that have gone before. This article lists 10 of the best, sorted by the central dystopian themes of each.
That’s all for this week. Good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt