Creating a Dystopian Government that isn't Cliche.

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding Creating a Dystopian Government that isn't Cliche.

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    The Fledgling Artist

    I don’t really know anything about world building.. Looks like everyone else has got you covered though! *vanishes*

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."

    Eden Anderson


    *pops head in*

    *sees the EXTREMELY LONG posts*

    Hahaha! Looks like you’ve got plenty to work with! The Inkredible @sarah-inkdragon has once again turned pilosopher…she’s all you need when it comes to writing advice! Plus add @taylorclogston and @evelyn into the mix and you’ve basically got a whole book on this subject. 😉

    *dashes off*

    Thanks for tagging me, but I don’t think I’m needed here! 😀 (My knowledge of dystopian literature is quite small…)

    "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Sarah Inkdragon

    @taylorclogston @evelyn @scartletimmortalized

    Thanks! Considering I wrote that at like 1AM, I’m amazed it turned out as coherent as it did…. there is this one part though:

     Now, I’m guessing you were raised in an environment that probably does approve of drugs, so neither do you.


    XD I meant to write doesn’t. 😉 I would go back and edit that for clarity, but I can’t now. (Judging by your responses though I’m guessing you understood it still. XD)


    In regards to your MC finding out about the true state of the government…. don’t kill Uncle Ben. In so many dystopian novels the MC is either raised to hate the government by rebel parents or such, or finds out after a loved one(enter Uncle Ben) is killed by the government.

    Now…. that’s perfectly alright, but it’s so cliche and honestly incredibly boring for me as a reader to see. It has no imagination whatsoever most of the time to it. But before we go on, I want to discuss tone for a moment.

    Regardless of your plot, the tone you set in your dystopian novel can change a lot of things about how it must be presented and what and what not to do. Now I, as a writer, tend to write with a dark tone. I like showing chaos and the effects of ignorance/sin/depravity/war in my novels in a very gritty, dark tone. I like showing what the world would be like if there was no God or if we deliberately ignored him and did whatever we like.

    So in my novels, it’s perfectly alright for me to use this tone to make my MC discover a flawed government system differently than a standard MC. I could make him simply discover it through thinking about it, or maybe finding a history book and reflecting on it. In a world without pain, like Jonas’s in The Giver, I could even write an MC that craves pain because it makes him feel real and not just another face in society, the same as everyone else.

    Tone greatly affects how your novel will play out, in my opinion. You may want to write a lighter toned novel, one with action and fun and some butt-kicking escapades–that’s fine. I love reading those. But if you’re gonna write something like that, you wouldn’t make your MC a depressed, pain-craving person like in the previous example, would you? No. There’s no room for his character and psychological development in a novel like that. He needs a novel in which he can heal and find hope, not one about taking down the big bad government with some cool spy gear.

    I’m not saying a lighter toned novel is bad. I love them. I’m just saying that you have to consider the effects of your tone on you characters. Dystopia is a genre where we can get away with very dark tone, so use that carefully.

    Now, on to discovering the government–this really depends on your MC’s personality, as well. If he/she is bold and rebellious, they’ll probably discover the flaw by rebelling or some act of curiosity. If they’re not, you might have to think a little harder–or use their brain. (Yeah, well, fictitious characters are famous for being act-first-think-last types of people.) Maybe your MC will find a history book buried in his parent’s cellar(again, depend on his environment. if the word has no pain, he will live in comfort and probably won’t have a dingy cellar to dig through. If he lives in poverty, he might have one, though). Maybe like in The Giver, he’ll be given a job that places him close to a resource to find out these flaws. Maybe his parents are part of the government and are involved in some super-secret thing, and rebels kidnap him to use as ransom against the government. Maybe he’s the ruler’s son, and was raised to rule the world someday so he knows all the flaws in the system.

    It really depends on three things to me–tone, character, and environment. So think about those before you decide long and hard. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    Ariel Ashira

    @eden-anderson Actually, Kari Karast tagged you.  😀

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."

    Eden Anderson




    "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky


    @everyone This chat is making me so happy. I love getting in depth on these subjects, and my intellectual side is dancing for joy. Thank you for your help!


    Ooh you have suggested the very things I was mulling over. On number 2, I was thinking the Government removes “stress”. Like you said with the disabled children, but parents are happy to give them over because stress is bad and it is better for the children this way.

    Maybe people live longer because the Government regulates food, and all things that are “bad” for people: cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, drugs, chemicals. My family has a pretty strict diet so we avoid these things anyways, so its relatable. Because the Government does all these good things, people are willing to ignore/sweep under the rug the bad things. Like Freedom.

    Thanks for all your thoughts and encouragement! I’ll check it out!


     Now, I’m guessing you were raised in an environment that probably does approve of drugs, so neither do you.


    XD I meant to write doesn’t.

    Here I was thinking you thought I approved of drugs. Now you assume I don’t *sweats remembering paper on legalizing medical marijuana* Naw I don’t approve of drugs as recreational, just medical. *Thinks about medicines I’ve taken that were worse than drugs* I do understand someone, who’s life has been effected by using or by a user, not wanting even medical marijuana legalized.

    *slaps cheeks* focus.

    Hm tone. Robin Hood has always been a light children’s tale. The more I think about the government its more of a Utopian Dystopian. However I’m all for showing the darker side of things. My MC is the second son of the King, so he basically ignored politics until recently.

    What do you think? A Robin Hood retelling. Dark or a lighter tone?

    “Scarlet, What are you eating?” ~ “Ghost peppers...” ~ Robin sighed.


    @scarletimmortalized Glad to be of help! 😀

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