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  1. IndigoDoll90

    IndigoDoll90 New Member

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    How To Make This Interesting

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by IndigoDoll90, Oct 18, 2020.

    I have this idea for a story about a young girl who lives in a utopian future. My main problem is I'm unsure how to make this story interesting. Please no saying I should make the setting a dystopian future. I hate the idea of dystopias.
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Gonna need more information than that. You're about five and a half beers short of a six pack here.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The basic problem is that genuine utopias tend to be boring since by definition that have a lack of conflict... this is why you are struggling to make an interesting plot that remains utopian
     
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  4. IndigoDoll90

    IndigoDoll90 New Member

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    I'm still working on the world building. First of all I'm not entirely sure what to make the technology like. I know I want there to be space travel and people living on other worlds in this future but I'm unsure about things like how will people in this utopian future interact with life on other worlds and what that life might be like. I also know I want there to be a hereditary leader that has more control then what leaders in this era have along with a strict set of laws the people have to follow to maintain peace. Not sure about education. Not sure if kids will still go to school or learn someway else. If I decided that kids still go to school in this future it will be different from what school is like now.
     
  5. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, this is my thought as well. Conflict doesn't have to be wars or battles or evil forces, but there has to be at least something interpersonal or low statkes going on. A story about perfect people going about their perfect lives with no struggles or worries is going to be difficult if not impossible to make compelling.

    The only thing I could possibly come up with is a a character who's not happy living in utopia because it's so unchallenging, and how she comes to terms with living in it.
     
  6. Malum

    Malum Clanging Supporter

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    It's in the nature of many to take things for granted...and perfection is in the eyes of the beholder. Making the reader sympathetic to characters harbouring discontentment in the setting is a way I could see a story developing. I hate to mention it, but Brave New World is a good example in some ways.....although it is dystopian.
     
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  7. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Worldbuilding isn't what makes a story exciting or interesting though. That comes from the plot and actions/feelings of the characters. What happens in your world is much more important to keeping readers engaged than the world itself.
     
  8. IndigoDoll90

    IndigoDoll90 New Member

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    The only possible conflict I have come up with is that the MC is more interested in art and design while her parents who are well known inventors want her to be an inventor like them, but she doesn't have any interest in inventing new technologies. Eventually the parents have to learn to accept her interest in art and design and that she is an inventor in her own way.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that can be done as a coming of age story... but if she is in conflict with her parents it won't be a true utopia
     
  10. mar-iposa

    mar-iposa Member

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    Is this always the case? I thought utopian could refer to the state of society in the setting as opposed to everything (in this case, interpersonal relationships) being perfect.
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Utopia was coined as a direct description by sir Thomas Moore in 1516 with his book of the same title which describes an ideal society... however the purpose of that description was to satirise and compare the rather than less utopian society in europe at the time with the supposed ideal.

    In a true utopia everything is perfect (its of note that utopia means no place in Greek - Moore may well have been saying that perfection could not exist), thus every time you introduce conflict for narrative reasons you move away from the Utopian ideal.

    Often novels said in a supposed Utopia revolve around the perfection being a facade... as with Logan's run for example and the discovery that those who reach age thirty (twenty one in the book) are in fact killed rather than being 'renewed'... however the OP specifically said that they did not want to write a dystopia so the utopia which isnt trope isnt available to them ... which then presents the challenge of making the 'everything is perfect' actually interesting
     
  12. IasminDragon

    IasminDragon Member

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    ... What is the story?
     
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  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    ...when suddenly the peaceful colonists of the planet are invaded by a
    xenos species that plans to mine the planet for some fancy -ium material
    that is extremely rare, but rich on said planet. What will the colonists do
    now, that half of their planet is about to mined away by a species that
    doesn't speak human and cares little for any local life that happens to
    inhabit a world they decide to mine for materials they desire?
    (Not taking the ineptitude route of having a full on war approach like
    Avatar did over silly materials and a tree).
    So how would the colonists deal with such a situation as thus presented?
    Do they come to a peaceful resolution with the flash mob mining aliens,
    through overcoming language barriers and heated debates for rights to
    contested resources?
    Do they fling their bodies endlessly into the machines in a vain attempt to
    get the gears to grind the gears (or what ever an alien species uses) to move
    and work bits of their machinery?
    Maybe your MC can be come a famous artist, and in such a broad scale (galaxy
    spanning) fame, finds that it is increasingly damaging to her mental state being
    in the lime light all the time, and further threatens relationships around her as
    a result of said fame.

    See conflict without turning to dystopian measures to find it.
     
  14. JuliaBrune

    JuliaBrune Member

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    It seems like I'm always going with the same advice but Ursula K LeGuin has done some interesting things with utopias and you should definitely check it out !

    The ones who walk away from omelas is an excellent and short read (but it's debatable - and hotly debated - whether this actually qualifies as a utopia). You can find a great reading of it here

    The dispossessed
    is a fundamental reference if you're gonna be writing utopia
     
  15. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    I think ‘suffering’ helps art. As in, to deal with extreme emotions is precisely what Art is most involved in.

    That would be the ‘conflict’. Your MC going against the ‘norm’ (breaking laws) to produce great art. The triumph of ‘ethic’ over ‘moral’ attitudes.

    note: For an example of a utopian society look at Iain Bainks’ Culture novels. Utopian doesn’t have to mean all other societies are utopian too.
     
  16. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    If you don't find it interesting, why are you writing it? And why can't you write it in modern society instead?

    Utopias are usually dystopias in disguise.
     
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  17. hirundine

    hirundine Contributor Contributor

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    Boredom itself could be a source of conflict, if everyone else thinks the utopia is great and the protagonist longs for something bigger and more exciting/dangerous.
     
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  18. TheOtherPromise

    TheOtherPromise Senior Member

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    Utopian fiction can be challenging to write. Because you both need to show that the society is free of conflict (to a degree) but ideally the conflict should make use of the fact it is set in a Utopia.

    I'm currently developing a Utopian story myself, and while it is a bit complicated to get into in a timely fashion, the main conflict basically deals with a protagonist who feels unwanted, unneeded, and inadequate in a world where everyone else seems happy and amazing. The resolution is the realization that despite appearances, the other people in his life deal with similar insecurities and he's not alone in feeling this way.

    Now admittedly my Utopian society is mostly based on the idea of a setting where all of the basic needs in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs are universally met. But that the social needs are not necessarily met by society and that is where the conflict stems from.

    Ultimately I'd look at the details of what your Utopian society is like and what ways it could fail in meeting the needs of your protagonist. Given just what you've posted it doesn't feel like there is a strong enough grasp of how the society works to know which conflict would work best in it, or vice versa.

    Why exactly do you want to write a Utopian story? What message are you aiming for? If you can narrow down the themes you want to explore, it could give you a direction into what type of conflict the story should have.
     
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  19. Thomas Larmore

    Thomas Larmore Member

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    It's interesting that you hate dystopia because every utopian story I've ever read is actually about a dystopia in disguise.

    Because -- utopia always has a PRICE.

    In one utopian story, they kept a girl trapped in a basement, and they tortured her. They had to. If they ever stopped torturing that girl, the entire utopian society would collapse.

    So, what's the PRICE of your utopia?
     
  20. JuliaBrune

    JuliaBrune Member

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    That would be The ones who walk away from omelas that I recommended above :) (though I think the child's gender is never specified)
     
  21. alpacinoutd

    alpacinoutd Active Member

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    Maybe you can draw a contrast between a peaceful perfect society on the outside, and all the conflicts and problems she is grappling with on the inside. How she hates her parents or stuff like that.
     
  22. Thomas Larmore

    Thomas Larmore Member

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    The problem with utopia is that some people won't fit in. A perfect society requires perfect people. The utopian story is about the person who can't meet that standard.
     
  23. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    There needs to be some form of conflict. The world could be perfect, but that doesn't mean the character is perfect. Peaceful can become very dull and boring. And without knowing what else is going on in your novel it's hard to help you. What else is the novel about other than a Utopian future? What's going to happen that makes this story worth telling? Is the Utopian world all false? Is this like a disillusionment arc for the character? Where's her conflict?
     

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