Welcome to Mother/Gamer/Writer for the Season of Fire Blog Tour! For today’s tour stop, please enjoy a wonderful guest post about “Writing a Dystopian Unlike the Rest ” and enter for your chance to win a copy!
Writing a Dystopian Unlike the Rest
By Lisa T. Bergren
No one knows better than I how crowded the dystopian field has become. When I drafted my series proposal and it sold to my publisher several years ago, there were half the dystopians in the market that there are now. *sigh* That’s how publishing trends emerge—success and popularity inspire many other authors to try their hand at something similar. And The Hunger Games was apparently hard for many of us to ignore.
The Hunger Games wasn’t my first dystopian spark, however. I cut my teeth on 1984 and The Giver. In college, I read Atwood’s amazing The Handmaid’s Tale. I was both terrorized and tantalized by those futuristic settings in which so much went wrong, and yet the human spirit arose, stronger than ever. It’s a classic storyline, and like all classic storylines, I figured there were many ways to slice and dice it. To make it fresh and different—so I sought to put my own stamp on the genre.
To begin with, I knew I wanted to represent that hope within all of us—not only a strength of spirit, of fortitude, of valor and independence—but also a deep recognition of birthright-gifting. Because I believe we are all uniquely gifted to contribute to our generation for good. Now my “Remnants”—as in, remnants of an earlier time, when the world wasn’t so dark and depraved—have some powerful, paranormal, supernatural gifiting. Among my characters, there’s an empath—one who can discern other people’s emotions—a beautiful healer, a guy who can see glimpses of the future, another who can discern good from evil, and still others who can physically move others with their mind or control the weather. That’s some seriously powerful gifting, right? But what I hoped it’d awaken in the reader is this thought: I am uniquely gifted. You are uniquely gifted. What will you do with those gifts to contribute to the world?
In addition, I added a spiritual-Creator element. The Maker is the One who has called the Remnants—and their protector-Knights—together, to bring the world back from the brink of death, by calling all who can hear the call together. Now my series is set in a post-WWIII world, feudalistic and medieval and Mad-Max-ish in good measure. My Remnants and their Knights are seriously tough and bad-ass in their ninja-like fighting skills. But for me, a unique element in the series is this supernatural bent, where they’re called to crazy places, and to do crazy-beyond-themselves things, because they’ve been called to do so by the One who brought them into this world.
Now, I don’t know where readers find themselves on the spiritual/religious front. You really don’t have to be a believer of any sort to read the series. But the way I deal with my own world is understanding this: We’re all called by the One who knit us together in our mothers’ wombs to do more than serve ourselves. We are to sacrifice in order to serve our brothers and sister too. And in doing so, we find goals, fulfillment, peace.
We are not accidents. We were created for a purpose. That’s something I strive to figure out every day—what is my Maker asking me to do? How can I make a difference in the world? To be a light? To show others the way toward love and hope and peace? And that’s what my Remnants do too. They not only dig deep within themselves—imperfect, fallible, selves—but they also look to the One who brought them into this world. Of course, there is the one who opposes their Maker, and will do anything he can to bring them all down because they threaten his path toward total control. And he becomes a fantastic archenemy. Sound familiar? As I said before, all classic stories begin from the seed of another classic thread…
My hope is that the Remnants Series is a dystopian/fantasy/suspense/romance/spiritual read that will stand out as unique in a crowded field of dystopians. That’s the hope, anyway. We only can do what we’ve been gifted to do…