1. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    What's my genre?

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by SNJade96, May 13, 2020.

    Hey, I'm currently writing a book that I'm 99% sure is dystopian, but I want to be absolutely certain before I proceed, because I know how different the book can get if the genre changes. Incidentally, it's also YA, which I know, I know, dystopian YA books are sort of overdone right now, but I'm inspired to write this. You get it. Anyway, it takes place in a future that doesn't necessarily look post-apocalyptic. Actually, it sort of reads as more Victorian era, but there's a reason for that. Essentially, since we're early in the process, I don't have a lot of different answers for some specific questions, but the general idea is that some event happened that got rid of a large percentage of the population, leaving a very small percentage left, a lot of which then died of disease or different causes that all resulted from this disaster. This disaster also cut out all electronics, perhaps a sort of EMP sort of scenario, leaving a small percentage of people, without technology, with enough pollution that it seems like the Victorian era, when they're deep into the Industrial Revolution. In other words, a post-apocalyptic scenario. The difference is that this takes place a number of years after this event; almost no progress has been made, because a) whatever happened has left no technology able to work for some undiscerned amount of time, and b) because much of history books and just knowledge of history in general, which would've helped with the reconstruction process, was lost. This means that the event is in the background; it's never described, just referred to in the character's head as sort of a "that building is left over from before" process, though obviously worded differently. The book isn't about this event, either; the story just happens to take place in a world after a post-apocalyptic event, though I promise it does have an impact on the plot. It's just that instead of struggling to survive in harsh post-apocalyptic conditions, a girl is struggling to survive in the unjust society that this event caused. For example, it caused an extreme distrust of foreigners in the country she lives in (she's a foreigner) and it caused most people to disregard science after the world gave up on salvaging the knowledge and turn to myths and superstition instead, which caused poetry, (which the main character loves) as something written intellectually, to be mostly disregarded, though not nearly as much as other written works are.
    I'm also not sure I want to associate myself with the dystopian YA crowd; not that they're not good authors or that they're books are bad, it's just that there's a sort of stigma around that particular genre that I don't want to affect my future writing career. I sort of went off the rails at the end there; sorry.
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    As I understand it Dystopian means there's an invasive government that controls everybody and everything and crushes the general populace down into the dirt (like in Hunger Games). You didn't mention anything like that, so I can't tell if your story has such a thing.
     
  3. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    That's sort of why I'm unsure.
    It doesn't have any sort of invasive or oppressive government, or at least, if it does, it's never addressed. It's more like there isn't much of a government at all; there isn't anarchy, but because there's so few people left, each city or area has its own rules. There is an overarching government, but there is no clear leader; it has sort of a "New World just after colonization" feel to it, where there is a known government, but it's very distant and no rules or laws have been created yet. I promise there's a justification for that, but I won't go into details. Does this help?
     
  4. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I looked up Dystopian fiction and here's what I found:

    "Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.' The term dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression and the theme is most commonly used in science fiction and speculative fiction genres.

    The most popular definition of dystopian literature is that it is anti-Utopian. The genre challenges utopia's fundamental assumption of human perfectibility, arguing humanity's inherent flaws negate the possibility of constructing perfect societies. Dystopian literature is deliberately written to frighten the reader. Works of dystopian literature must walk a fine line between evoking the sensations of fear and inducing a sense of futility. By proving a completely perfect society is not possible - showing the awful results of what happens if the goal is social perfection rather than incremental social improvement - dystopia shocks the reader into accepting humanity's flaws as ineradicable and thereby working toward a better society rather than an ideal one."


    It still sounds like it needs to be some form of government or social structure to qualify as dystopian. Yours sounds more like a wild west frontier setup or just complete anarchy. If the above description is to be trusted (and now I'm not at all sure I trust anything I find on the subject) there would need to be some setup that was meant to be utopian, but is actually the opposite. Unless there are other definitions of dystopian that I'm still not aware of.

    It sounds like you have poverty and squalor (not sure) but it would need to be caused by the government to qualify as dystopian.

    It does fit the post-apocalyptic form perfectly though.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  5. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Just judging from what I've found and your thoughts (thanks, by the way) I don't think it's dystopian, since any filth, squalor, or negative attributes of a dystopia aren't caused by a government, but by an apocalyptic incident. I do think I should say, at least as a passing thought, that the inhabitants of this world don't think of themselves as post-apocalyptic; enough time has passed and enough of the earth survived that it doesn't really fit people's ideas of an apocalypse, either when it happened or now, perhaps centuries after the event itself.
    Anyway, if it's not dystopian what is it? As I said, I've been writing ever since I was a little kid, but I've never really concerned myself with genres before; I was just writing for myself, and it didn't matter. Thoughts?
     
  6. TheOtherPromise

    TheOtherPromise Senior Member

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    It's post apocalyptic.

    There was an apocalypse, your story takes place after it. Post Apocalyptic.

    It doesn't sound like enough time has passed for society to truly bounce back, and your character has to deal with the fallout of the apocalyptic event and its affect on society. So even though a significant amount of time has passed and the pre-apocalypse time has been mythologized, your setting (and genre) still sounds like its post apocalyptic.
     
  7. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    "The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, the way to maintain the human race alive and together as one, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten (or mythologized). Post-apocalyptic stories often take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain."

    From Wikipedia—Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  8. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Conspicuously Conventional Contributor

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    That's one way to reason it. For me though, genres are better sorted by feeling (themes, tones, and focus) than by technicalities.
     
  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Yes. Both Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic are more like categories. And YA, New Adult, Middle Grade etc are really age recommendations (like the movie rating system). I think of them more as meta-genres than actual genres. At the most pertinent level a genre would be something like Action/Adventure, Western, Romance, Coming-Of-Age etc. You should know where your story fits in relation to all of these levels of genre.
     
  10. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Agreed with @TheOtherPromise - it's post-apocalyptic.
     
  11. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    After reading all this, I'm maybe a little more sure it's dystopian. Thanks for the help.
     

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