On Dystopia

Let’s get into the fictional world a bit, okay? Okay.

So, dystopian fiction! So popular lately. The Hunger Games. Divergent. What have you. What’s all that stuff about?

Well, I’m here to tell you.

Just let me push my glasses up my nose, here. Have to get the right pretentious feel of the geek who knows so much more than everyone else, you know?

There. That’s better.

Anyway, my roommate absolutely loathes anything dystopian. I have a hard time understanding that. Sure, I’m not into the recent fad, but there are some really great dystopian stories out there. Anthem is one of my favorite examples. Harrison Bergeron. I love the way they make me think! So, this all lead me to write her a little mini-essay about dystopias, which I will shell out for you all, here.

Before you get any farther, no, I’m not talking about the new ones. They are not relevant to my rambling. I try to avoid them.

Once upon a time, in a Utah town not all that far away, Mac was in high school, and had the opportunity to specifically study fantasy and science fiction. For credit.

Oh, it was a magical time! Filled with some of the worst, and best, books she had ever read.

But that’s not the point. I digress. Again.

See, dystopia is an attempt to moderate the extremists. You know, those people with all their fancy ideas for how the world could be better. If we were all equal! If we all shared, and the government ran everything! If we didn’t let emotion control us! If we could all be pretty! If we could stop crimes before they happen by analyzing someone’s psyche!

The point of a dystopian story is to say, “Yes, but. . .” and take that utopia these people have imagined, and point out the flaws. Show people the awful truth behind the pretty lies.

Now, dystopias are downright depressing, usually. But they do make you think (or me, at least). It makes me open my eyes a little more to the world around me, and realize that things aren’t as bad as they could be. Not by a long shot!

I’d provide you guys with a list of my favorite dystopian books/movies/what have you, but I’m not a very good judge. That stuff and depression don’t really mix well together, sometimes. I tried, and I could only come up with three off the top of my head. I haven’t even read most of the greats. So I will duck my head back down, and shut up now.

Thanks for reading. You guys rock.

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On Characters and Mac the Defender (And Ramblings)

Characters are probably the most important element in a story, if you’re me. Without a good, memorable character, a book is bland and lifeless.

So, I thought I’d burden you with my thoughts on characters, today. And other things that tie in, of course. At least in my brain. Aren’t you so excited? You should be.

Now, we ramble.

Every writer, in my limited experience (feel free to correct me), puts something of themselves into a character. If it’s too much, and too badly written, the readers will call it a Mary Sue and be done with it. But we’re not focusing on those, right now. This is about me. Focus. Geez.

Anyway, with me, I have a tendency toward writing male characters, with dark and troubled pasts. Abuse is certainly an issue, and they have a lot of the same problems I have. Depression. Suicidal mentalities. An urge to protect others from going through what they’ve been through. An obsession with not being weak.

Heck, I was writing all my characters with depression before I knew I was depressed. It was the only reality I knew, and I thought everyone was like that. Surprise, surprise, Mac.

In my writing, my characters get better. At least, they start down the road to recovery. I guess that’s me, protecting them the best way that I can. Because I feel the need to protect people (and animals) that are going through, or have gone through, similar things.

My cat, Moe, is terrified of everything. My dad and I found her in an add, and drove out to get her. The first time I saw her, she was cowering in the back of a cat carrier, and she hissed at me. When I picked her up, holding her against my chest, she started to tremble. She stayed quietly on my lap the entire way home.

At home, she curled up under my bookcase and wouldn’t come out. I would have been fine to leave her be, but she had two knots in her fur, so I took her out and cut them out. Imagine my surprise when I realized she was purring. After that, I started taking her out and giving her attention for a couple minutes every day. Slowly, she started warming up to me.

It’s been three years since I got her. She’s still a skittish little stinker. But she sleeps on my bed. And my roommate’s. She attacks receipts in the middle of the floor. She comes to me or my roommates unfailingly when she wants attention. She rolls over and lets you rub her belly. Her purr is audible. Of course, you still have to be careful not to approach her too quickly or speak in the wrong tone, and I’m crazily protective of her, but she’s gotten so much better. It’s wonderful, for me, to see how far she’s come. How far my characters have come.

And yes, how far I’ve come.