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Author Topic: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?  (Read 2394 times)

Offline Alexandre A Loch

Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« on: November 21, 2015, 01:06:24 PM »
Wrote a book (will be released in February 2016) and discovered through my beta-reader it belonged to the dystopian subgenre (always read that genre without knowing it! lol). I was getting ideas for a new book, read also a topic on The Guardian discussing literature versus genre authors. While trying to have new ideas, I was wondering if there are such things as "dystopian genre authors"; because when I tried to create another plot like "imagine if...", following what a genre author would do, thought it would be kind of repetitive (writer's block?).

Cheers!

Offline Jmack

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 01:35:46 PM »
@asabo? Meet Alexandre.
Might you describe yourself as a dystopian genre writer?

Hi, Alexandre. Asabo is one of our members whom I know writes dystopian novels. Or at least, post-cataclysm, if you will. @Nora has a post-cataclysm world in the works, though I doubt she'd pigeon-hole herself into any genre.

I hadn't really thought of dystopian as a genre. It's certainly a theme and subject of a whole variety of books. Here was a quick definition from the internet:
Quote
an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

I'm interested, though, in the intersection of post-cataclysm and dystopian. There's really no reason dystopian has to be in an Earth-type world w/future setting (though it most often is) or that post-cataclysm plots need to be dystopian (though they very often are).
« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 01:41:15 PM by Jmack »
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Offline Alexandre A Loch

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 01:42:35 PM »
That's the issue: no. My first novel was not dystopian, for instance. But I see that many authors describe themselves as genre authors. I think it works for other genres, but would it work for dystopias?

Offline Jmack

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2015, 02:44:43 PM »
That's the issue: no. My first novel was not dystopian, for instance. But I see that many authors describe themselves as genre authors. I think it works for other genres, but would it work for dystopias?

Work as a way to communicate to readers what to expect? Work in what way?
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

Offline asabo

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2015, 04:11:07 PM »
I will say that Amazon and other booksellers consider dystopian a genre. However, I think the lines are fairly blurred. To me, dystopia usually involves a dysfunctional government like in 1984 or A Brave New World. I think the the TV show Revolution might have fallen into that category.

My book has a failing/disappearing government, so I don't think it is a classic dystopia. A lot of post apocalyptic stories have labeled themselves as dystopian. And I think some people consider them interchangeable.

As a writer, I consider a genre to be a certain set of reader expectations. Epic fantasy will expect a quest or maybe magic. Steampunk will expect steam powered machinery. Post apocaylptic will expect that a disaster has created the world. So if you write a book and aren't sure of the genre, I would check with readers of a few genres to see their expectations. If it doesn't hit the proper notes, readers of those genres won't enjoy it.

Think of it like a romance where the couple doesn't get together. Or a mystery where the killer isn't captured. You need to satisfy the genre's needs.

But I don't mean you should force yourself to write in a certain box. Just make sure you find the correct box for what you love to write.
Lethal Seasons - Apocalyptic Science Fiction (no zombies)
http://allthereisandtherestofit.blogspot.com/p/lethal-seasons.html

Offline Yora

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2015, 04:40:27 PM »
Are you looking for authors who are known to write lots of dystopian stories, so you could read them to find inspirations?
« Last Edit: November 21, 2015, 04:49:24 PM by Yora »
Spriggan's Den

There is nothing to read!

Offline Alexandre A Loch

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2015, 05:36:52 PM »
@asabo? Meet Alexandre.
Might you describe yourself as a dystopian genre writer?

Hi, Alexandre. Asabo is one of our members whom I know writes dystopian novels. Or at least, post-cataclysm, if you will. @Nora has a post-cataclysm world in the works, though I doubt she'd pigeon-hole herself into any genre.

I hadn't really thought of dystopian as a genre. It's certainly a theme and subject of a whole variety of books. Here was a quick definition from the internet:
Quote
an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

I'm interested, though, in the intersection of post-cataclysm and dystopian. There's really no reason dystopian has to be in an Earth-type world w/future setting (though it most often is) or that post-cataclysm plots need to be dystopian (though they very often are).

Thanks for the rec Jmack! I really think that distinguishing a dystopian sub-genre is something very difficult and specific. Maybe that's why some authors prefer not to put themselves in such a category.

Offline Alexandre A Loch

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2015, 05:50:31 PM »
I will say that Amazon and other booksellers consider dystopian a genre. However, I think the lines are fairly blurred. To me, dystopia usually involves a dysfunctional government like in 1984 or A Brave New World. I think the the TV show Revolution might have fallen into that category.

My book has a failing/disappearing government, so I don't think it is a classic dystopia. A lot of post apocalyptic stories have labeled themselves as dystopian. And I think some people consider them interchangeable.

As a writer, I consider a genre to be a certain set of reader expectations. Epic fantasy will expect a quest or maybe magic. Steampunk will expect steam powered machinery. Post apocaylptic will expect that a disaster has created the world. So if you write a book and aren't sure of the genre, I would check with readers of a few genres to see their expectations. If it doesn't hit the proper notes, readers of those genres won't enjoy it.

Think of it like a romance where the couple doesn't get together. Or a mystery where the killer isn't captured. You need to satisfy the genre's needs.

But I don't mean you should force yourself to write in a certain box. Just make sure you find the correct box for what you love to write.

Excellent advice Asabo. In fact that's exactly my difficulty. I thought my work would rather fit in the psychological novel genre (something which I have not yet met in Amazon or other literature forums), mixed with something dystopian. However, seeing that dystopia was under the sci-fi/fantasy category and reading the forums I got unsure about that. But maybe I'll see if someone from these forums can make reviews to see if it fits the genre.

Lines are indeed very blurred in the sense that it is hard to find a number of books that would exclusively meet the criteria for a dystopian novel. Surely I will write without necessarily fitting it into a box, that's the best advice.

Offline Alexandre A Loch

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2015, 06:03:51 PM »
Are you looking for authors who are known to write lots of dystopian stories, so you could read them to find inspirations?

Yes, also! Any recommendation?

By the way, just found this list where dystopian is a separate category. Sharing with you:

http://www.bisg.org/bisac-subject-headings-list-fiction

Online Lady_Ty

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2015, 07:04:56 AM »
Hi Alexandre, and welcome to F-F.  Try The City and The City by China Mieville, written as a crime investigation but much more. Modern unusual dystopia and truly fascinating concept, weird rather than fantasy as we know it. It's not long about 370 pages and will give your imagination a stretch. If you do read it, would love to have  your comments sometime :D.
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Offline Alexandre A Loch

Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2015, 09:30:27 PM »
Hi Alexandre, and welcome to F-F.  Try The City and The City by China Mieville, written as a crime investigation but much more. Modern unusual dystopia and truly fascinating concept, weird rather than fantasy as we know it. It's not long about 370 pages and will give your imagination a stretch. If you do read it, would love to have  your comments sometime :D.

Thank you very much Lady_Ty. Just added to my book list!

Offline Nora

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2015, 12:29:01 PM »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2015, 12:33:10 PM »
Looks like a book for you... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27259205-tails-of-the-apocalypse
Tell me it's not really called 'tails'.
Oh.
It is.
Not a very good pun, though...
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Offline Nora

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 01:43:02 PM »
Looks like a book for you... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27259205-tails-of-the-apocalypse
Tell me it's not really called 'tails'.
Oh.
It is.
Not a very good pun, though...

Well apparently it's bent on "animal cooperation" so sort of an excusable pun?
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Can someone be a dystopian genre writer?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2015, 02:00:02 PM »
Looks like a book for you... https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27259205-tails-of-the-apocalypse
Tell me it's not really called 'tails'.
Oh.
It is.
Not a very good pun, though...

Well apparently it's bent on "animal cooperation" so sort of an excusable pun?
Ah, ok then ;)
At home in the Fantasy Faction forum!
"A book is as dangerous as any journey you might take. The person who closes the back cover may not be the same one that opened the front one." Mark Lawrence ("Red Sister")

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