Writing Dystopias

Since The Hunger Games became popular, Dystopia novels have become a real trend in the books, especially with YA Novels where more and more novels are coming out in this genre. It is a very interesting genre which has a lot of potential; however it can go very wrong if one does not know how Dystopian novels work; we’ve listed down some essential things that writers should keep in mind when writing Dystopian novels

.What is a Dystopia to begin with?

“A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian” (Wikipedia.org)

“A society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding” (dictionary.reference.com/)

So basically it is a world where society is completely under the control and oppressed by the government or one supreme ruler. It has its own laws and culture on how things should and should not be and rules are set for everyone living in this world on how they should and should not act and what is the punishment for going out of line. You are creating somewhat of a new world and therefore you should tackle many aspects of how people are living within this system of your dystopian world

Nature of Dystopias

Dystopia need to maintain existence and not fall apart. It needs to work where one supreme ruler is able to take control and maintain control of the system that they enforce on the rest of the world.

How this would work is to strip away the freedom of the people that they rule and ensure that no one goes out of line and therefore when a writer wants to write a dystopia they need to use very extreme measures to ensure that the people who are under the control of the system can’t and won’t go against the system (physically and mentally).

The government should ensure that the number 1 priority within the people is the government before anything else and you ensure that by using multiple methods whether it is by giving them rewards for being faithful to the government, install fear in them for even thinking of going against the government or whatever method that you choose to use when writing a dystopia it is the outcome of how effective this system is.

The people’s happiness is not something that the government in a dystopia wants or should care about; to maintain power the people need to basically be crushed physically, mentally and emotionally.

Rebel groups

Rebellion groups are something of a norm in dystopias because you will most likely write a character that is a part of the rebellion. What is important to understand is that in a dystopia a large group of rebels cannot exist because if the government wants to be in power for a long time they will have to have constant watch over the people and having a large group would lead to suspicious activity that would lead the government to know exactly what is going on.

The supreme leader of a dystopian government will know that rebels group will form against you and as a leader who wants to stay in power, your job is to ensure that you are able to spot these groups and see the signs in order to crush them before they even start. It’s not enough to have a leader who is just plain evil and cruel but they need to be smart in order to be able to always be ahead of these rebel groups otherwise they would have fallen against the very first group that goes against them which is most likely at the beginning of their rule

The dystopian world that you are creating has to make sense in terms of the system, the laws placed by the leader, the world itself to show the reader that this world in fact can exist for decades without it being a weak system that can crash and burn easily

We suggest that you check out 1984 by George Orwell if you want to see a great dystopian system

Happy Writing

– Untitled Chapters


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