Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Defining Dystopia

Recently I posted the first five pages of my WIP, Princess, for critique. It is set in the future after a catastrophic event, but I do not call it dystopian. After reading those five pages, several people said they would call it that. While I know that's something that can be difficult to discern after only five pages, their comments led me to examine my definition of dystopian fiction.

For my purposes, I will use Hunger Games as an example. I believe dystopian novels are driven by the problems in that world. If you place Katniss in present day Appalaccia (which is where she's from), you wouldn't have a story.

In my novel, the main character is Adria. Yes, the world fell apart prior to her birth, but that doesn't affect the story I'm telling. If I placed Adria in modern day Colorado, the heart of the story would be the same. She grows up, sheds her innocence, and learns about the world around her. I could have set it anywhere, but I felt the future I created added color and flavor to her story. Something unique.

That's why I maintain my story is not dystopian. What are your thoughts? How would you define dystopia?

Monday, August 2, 2010