Wednesday, May 8, 2013

5 Reasons to Write Dystopian Novels

I consider myself an eclectic writer in that the genres for the stories I’ve written tend to vary, from romance, science-fiction, dystopian, political thriller, paranormal, adult, young adult, and chick-it. In fact, my first novel, Enigma Black, is four of those aforementioned genres all rolled into one. But, if you were to hold me down, kicking and screaming, after careful thought, I would tell you that the increasingly-popular dystopian genre is by far my favorite type of novel to write. Why? I’m glad you asked because I just so happen to have five reasons why I prefer to write dystopian novels:
1.  Better world building. A dystopian setting offers a literal world of possibilities. Whether your literary world is governed by anarchy, oppression, a disease that forces its  inhabitants to live in seclusion, forced pairings, or generalized fear, the dystopian genre allows you more of a creative liberty (in my opinion) to multiply the darkest fears buried in the deepest recesses of your mind and bring them to life on paper.
2.  More kick-butt female protagonists. From Katniss in The Hunger Games to Tris in Divergent, dystopian novels are rife with strong female main characters who make wonderful role models for young women, and have more honorable traits for others to emulate, such fearlessness and strength (as opposed to selfishness and a dependence upon others to save the day).
3.  Because rainbows and sunshine get old. I, for one, don’t want to read a novel where everything is hunky-dory all of the time nor do I always want there to be a happy, sugar-coated ending. I want there to be tension; I want to feel a sense of impending doom amidst a world I can’t seem to figure out. And you get all of that in the dystopian genre, making it one of the more exciting genres to both read and write.
4.  You can stack other genres on top of it. There is so much more you can work into a dystopian novel. You can have an epic romance, an alien invasion, a political thriller, or even a horror story (think zombies), all set within a dystopian environment. Really, the world’s your oyster when it comes to the dystopian genre, allowing you to be a tad more creative with less restrictions than some of the other genres impose.
5.   Heroes rise from oppression. One of the things I love most about the dystopian genre is the ultimate banding together of those who oppose it. Alliances are made, heroes are born, and a darn good story usually ensues as a result.
 I recently took part in a blog tour with RABT Readers. The following are just some of the reviews that Enigma Black garnered during that tour:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Excerpt From Enigma Black

The automatic door was now more manual than automatic. I banged on it with my fists, attempting to do the job the explosion had been unable to accomplish. When that failed, I braced a leg on one side of the frame and, with my aching arms, attempted to pry the door open like a human crow-bar. No luck. After a couple more minutes of kicking, smacking and invariably flipping the door off, I realized that what I was doing was not going to work. Undeterred, I scanned the rubble for an idea. A piece of scaffolding stuck out like a sore thumb within the concrete. Lunging towards it, I prayed it would be suitable to pry the door open. Just as I bent down to grab it, I felt one hand on my shoulder and another one around my waist, attempting to pull me back.

“What in the hell do you think you’re doing?” A man whirled me around to face him. His eyes were wild, his hair gray from soot. He appeared to be a security guard or an officer of some sort. It was too hard to tell based on what was left of his tattered uniform. “There’s nothing left. Do you hear me? The ramp is gone. You’re going to get yourself killed trying to go out there.”

Even though I heard the words he spoke, they made absolutely no sense to me. What did he mean when he said the ramp was gone? It had been there just twenty minutes ago. Deciding that the good officer must be crazy, I broke away from him and proceeded onward in my quest to pry the door open, grabbing the piece of scaffolding from its concrete tomb.

“No!” he screamed at me again, lunging to restrain me.

I’d had enough. As much as I didn’t want to do it, I felt like I had no other option but to disable the officer, as reasoning with him was clearly not going to work. Raising my arm, I forcibly swung it back, striking him in the chest. The force of my elbow to his rib cage caused him to release his grip on me enough to where I was able to break away. Once free, I whirled around, swiftly kicking him in the legs as hard as I could in the hope that it would incapacitate him long enough for me to pry the door open.

Fetching the metallic bar from the rubble, I jammed it between the seal and the frame of the doorway, pushing it with all my strength. At first, it put up an admirable fight, but after several solid jabs it finally conceded defeat, slowly squeaking open. Smoke — thicker and black in color — poured into the store from the outside, sending me into another coughing fit. Holding my breath, I gave the bar a few more solid pushes until enough room opened up for me to squeeze my entire body through the door. Through the clouds of smoke, I took off down the crumpled concrete. In the suffocating fog, snowflakes stabbed my face like tiny daggers, grinding salt in my wounds.

My eyes worked to focus in the direction I’d left my parents’ vehicle. I walked carefully down the pavement, looking for the familiar sight of the garage. I should have been there by now; this walk was taking entirely too long. The smoky haze slowly became less and less dense the further out I walked until a wayward gust of wind blew past me, punching a hole into the unknown. What it revealed was a scene I hadn’t expected.

Instead of the familiar ramp, I found myself standing on the edge of a ledge with the rest of the city spread out before me. Sirens surrounded me. I shielded my ears with my bloodied hands. A strange sound approaching from above drew my attention to the helicopter that was circling the mall. The hurricane-force wind it generated pushed my broken body in all directions. Did I take a wrong turn? Was I that disoriented?

No, I wasn’t. This was where I’d left my parents and Jacob. They had been right here waiting for me. A thought occurred to me then; a thought that rendered my delicate stomach as fragile as an egg shell. Taking in a deep breath, I staggered to the edge of the cliff, peering over the edge to see what I had feared and somehow already knew would be there.