3 Reasons Why I’m Afraid To Write A Dystopian (And Why I’m Doing It Anyway)

If you were around when I talked about my plans for NaNo, you saw the rough overview of the story I want to work on during the month of November. There’s something entirely frightening about this story for me:

It’s a part of the dystopian genre. 

That’s definitely not in my wheelhouse. At all. Fantasy is where my heart is, and I have absolutely no experience writing dystopian. In fact, I’m a little worried about venturing into the science-fiction world that is called dystopian. Here are three reasons why I’m nervous about putting myself forward and writing this genre.

(Google Images. Credit to rightful owner.)

(Google Images. Credit to rightful owner.)

1. Detail

I may be taking American Government this year, and it’s really interesting, but I’m still not very well-versed in politics. I have no idea how my dystopian government is going to work, how the prison is laid out, all that jazz. I love creating and inserting details into my stories, but dystopians require a lot of attention in that field. November’s coming quickly, and I’ve gotta get this government/society system in check. It’s a big, although not entirely unwelcome, challenge. The detail requirement I know I need is just overwhelming right now.

2. Cliches

I may have chosen to place this one second, but it’s the biggest deal for me. Dystopian stories are riddled with cliches. I can sum up most dystopians in a few words: Plain girl/guy is the catalyst for a rebellion against an evil, oppressive government. Also, love triangles. Cliches can be okay sometimes, but it seems that dystopian stories all have the same plot (with the exception of The Reckoners Series and The Giver). I’m really afraid of my story being just like every other dystopian. It’s a daunting thought, to try to make my novel stand out from all the others. I have to convince people that’s it fresh and new and worth the read – and then I have to deliver on that promise.

3. Redundancy 

Dystopian novels are everywhere. They’re a really common sight, and I do not want to be known as one of those authors whose one-hit-wonder first book is a dystopian. I don’t want to repeat what others have done – I don’t want to be just another dystopian novel on the shelves. I don’t want to be confined by the definitions of this genre. Since dystopians are seen all the time, I want mine to be something more than redundant. I want to do something that hasn’t been done before.

“Then why are you writing a dystopian?” You may ask. I’m writing this, despite my criticism of the genre, because I love the idea. It’s creative and exciting, and I want this novel out in the world. I believe that if I try hard enough, I can write something that critics don’t just peg as “the next Hunger Games” (as they do so often), but as a imaginative story that can hold its own among the others in its genre. I believe that my idea is different and unconventional, and that it holds so much potential.

I’m taking a risk and I’m nervous about the turnout, but I won’t be cliched. I won’t be redundant.

I’m going to make sure of that.

What genre would you be afraid to write? What things are you scared that people will say about your novel? Are you pushing on regardless of your fear? Do tell! 

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One thought on “3 Reasons Why I’m Afraid To Write A Dystopian (And Why I’m Doing It Anyway)

  1. I am excited for you for NaNoWriMo! Usually I do not read science-fiction but I did read a science fiction book called The Arena that I really enjoyed. I think it is good to do things you are afraid of (if they are appropriate). Currently, I am not writing any novels but this year I have been trying to do things I am afraid to do.

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