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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Post: Linda Hawley

Linda Hawley
Lately I've been asked, "What's dystopian?" A dystopian society is one that is repressed, and controlled by a specific group, like a government. Dystopian is the opposite of utopian. Very often, dystopian stories are set in the future. Dystopian fiction is a subcategory of science fiction. There are dystopian novels, and dystopian movies. Here are six examples of dystopian movies: The Matrix, Minority Report, The Island, I Robot, Total Recall, and Blade Runner. Here are six examples of dystopian novels: The Road, The Giver, I Am Legend, A Clockwork Orange, The Time Machine, and (my new novel) Dreams Unleashed.

In Dreams Unleashed, the story begins in the near-future year of 2015, and continues forward from there. As a reader of dystopian fiction, I always wonder how things got so bad. What caused it? Some authors never explain this back story in their fiction. I didn’t want to leave my readers hanging in this way, so in book one of my trilogy, I explain how things got the way they are (in the year 2015). In books two and three, the story carries forward, because the reader already knows how governments started controlling their citizens.

I really love writing about events occurring in the near future (5-10 years away). I want these future events to be grounded in my stories, so that readers can relate to them. I do this by using current events and technology that is present today. I embellish them a bit, and then imply their effect on the future dystopian society. It’s essentially a re-wrapping of events/technology, using my own imagination of possible future implications.

I am a fan of the old Alfred Hitchcock movies. He had a way of empowering the viewer to figure out the story, by giving clues along the way. He did finally expose villians, but only after he weaved through unexpected twists and turns first. In his movies, there was meaning in everything. I use Hitchcock’s style in my writing, and do everything possible to make connections everywhere. Everything means something in The Propecy trilogy. Expect the unexpected is my mantra. I want readers to be able to pick up my novels for a second read, and find that they are making new connections that were missed the first time. This “gift that keeps giving” is common is dystopian fiction, and it’s something I love about it.

In good dystopian fiction, the author creates very strong characterizations, to get readers invested in the story. Unfortunately, some dystopian authors rely too heavily upon plot, and don’t offer up enough well rounded characterizations. Readers want characters to be memorable and multidimensional, but also want a plot propelling the story forward. I think it’s a balancing act as a writer, and a significant challenge when writing in the dystopian genre. 

Writing in this genre is dramatic, but also filled with hope. It’s the juxtaposition that inspired me to write dystopian. If you haven’t read dystopian before, Dreams Unleashed might be a good dip in the pool, with it’s light science fiction. 

The print version of Dreams Unleashed will be published this week.

You can read a free sample of Dreams Unleashed at Amazon 

The eBook version of Dreams Unleashed is available for purchase NOW for $2.99 (for all eBook readers) at:  Smashwords   /   Amazon  /   Barnes & Noble 

Linda’s website   /   Linda’s blog

Dreams Unleashed (The Prophecies)Synopsis of Dreams Unleashed
It’s the near-future year of 2015, where technology governs life. In this dystopian world, governments control their citizens by tracking them with RFID. The right to personal privacy does not exist. The heroine, Ann Torgeson, having been trained by the CIA as a paranormal spy at nineteen years old, has enhanced abilities. Twenty-five years later, she lives a double life: first, as a technical writer for a tidal energy company in the Pacific Northwest, and second, as a member of the worldwide anti-government subversive organization, called GOG. When Ann’s vivid dreams turn real, she questions whether the doorway between her subconscious and reality has been permanently altered. When she starts to dig into her past, her present begins to unravel, leading the reader through events that twist and turn everything upside down. Question everything you know is essential in this trilogy.


jackie b central texas said...

Funny thing about Dystopian genre all the books you listed except The Giver I have seen as movies but not read, except Dreams Unleashed which I am finally in the process of reading Linda... The best part of reading this genre is the fact that it is part reality, part fantasy and sometimes pure speculation on the part of an author... The works that are grounded in fact and centered in a world that exists at the moment or the very near future even makes it more entertaining.