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Writing the world as we know it… but, you know, worse: Inktips from author Rae Mariz

Posted by inkpopbecki on October 6, 2010

Want to learn how to write dystopia? Come talk to Rae Mariz, author of the new book The Unidentified. Join us for our live chat today at 5 p.m. EST on the inkpop forums.


1) The world is already pretty messed up. Look around. Find a political trend or tendency in human nature and exaggerate its effects and see what happens to the people in your story then. Just by tweaking a few trends or attitudes, you can create a unique society that feels creepily familiar.

2) Make your oppressive power/system of control something you can almost imagine yourself supporting. Let them have justification for their actions that you yourself might also get behind–if you didn’t know the true cost of what they’re doing. Pure evil is pretty boring.

3) Create a character that is either best adapted to survive or succeed in this environment– or WORST adapted. Your reader will be experiencing and discovering this world you dreamed up through them. Show the ways they interact with their surroundings and what obstacles this new world order throws up in front of them.


4) Don’t forget the details. Introducing a cool bit of technology, or a certain kind of food, or a specific holiday goes a long way in giving shape to daily life on your world. And think about language especially. How does the place they’re growing up in inform the words your characters use and ways they express themselves?

5) Have fun! It may sound sociopathic to enjoy destroying a world or masterminding a system of oppression, but using your imagination to work out the intricacies of an entire society that doesn’t exist is probably the most entertaining part of the writing process. So let yourself play around with those ideas.

Interested? Want to hear more? Come chat with Rae Mariz, author of The Unidentified, today at 5 p.m. EST on inkpop forums.

One Response to “Writing the world as we know it… but, you know, worse: Inktips from author Rae Mariz”

  1. […] I had a lot of fun chatting with the teen writers at inkpop the other day. The conversation about writing dystopian novels is still available there, but if you want a cheat sheet there’s a condensed version with five tips for writing the world as we know it, but worse. […]

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