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?


ElegantSnobbery said...

Yes, definitely Katniss wouldn't have a story in present day. Dystopian has to have a miserable, oppressive government in a futuristic society. Its like the opposite of a Utopian society.

I thought yours would be by reading your first 5 because of the futuristic, yet Hunger Games-esque feel to it. But if there isn't an oppressive futuristic government, then you're totally right - not dystopian.

But your story sounds fantastic! I look forward to reading it some day!

KrysteyBelle said...

Thanks! If anything, I think Adria's society is somewhat utopian. At least, that's what they're trying for. Of course, it's not always that way.

Tessa Quin said...

Dear Krystey,

I think your blogs are fantastic and I've decided to award you the Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog Awards. Congrats, you deserve them! (See them on my page and copy them to yours, if you wish)

Tessa :)

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