Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge Topic: Dystopian

A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic. This year, I’ll be covering writing genres.

Today’s genre:



the literary exploration of social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world, a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression

Tipsa to z

  1. Take current technologies and extrapolate how they would affect the future in a negative way
  2. A dystopian society is the opposite of a utopian one–reflect that in your story.
  3. The characters live a repressed, controlled life.
  4. Often, a figurehead or concept is worshipped.
  5. Citizens fear the outside world. It is banished and distrusted.
  6. Citizens live in a dehumanized state.
  7. The dystopian protagonist often feels controlled and is trying to escape.
  8. Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society.
  9. The key to writing good dystopian fiction is to entrench yourself in current affairs. Use these to grow your story.
  10. The story must be more than simply criticizing society.

Popular Books

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  3. Anthem by Ayn Rand
  4. Gattaca by Andrew Niccols
  5. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  8. 1984 by George Orwell
  9. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  10. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Click for complete list of genres

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for May 2017. Click to follow its progress.


46 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge Topic: Dystopian

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Digital Storytelling | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Diary | WordDreams...

  3. Can’t say I’m a fan of dystopian. It can be done extremely well, but for some reasons, I hav ethe feeling that it may very often go wrong, more easily than other genres. Maybe because the author tends to think that, because the world is so wrong, that’s authomatically the problem of the main character and personal goals take a step back.
    Just my very personal impression 😉

    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What’s the one with the name I always forget… DIVERGENT! I always have to look it up. It won’t stay in my brain! I read that series…but yeah, didn’t like the ending so much. I’m kinda glad dystopia is dead with mainstream publishers. It was like chicklit–just too much. Way oversaturated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting–didn’t know it was dead. Since I like happy endings, I haven’t missed it!

      Wasn’t chicklit just rebranded as Romance? Publishers realized everyone liked to discuss emotions, not just women? Not sure…


  5. I’ve read a lot of these, but mostly as a must-read in high school English. I’ve seen the Hunger Games movies and have enjoyed them. There are a few here though that I’m adding to my list. That’s what this A to Z does to me! Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve liked the dystopian genre ever since before I knew that was the name of the genre and actually I think that is a relatively new label isn’t it? Post-apocalyptic is another similar or sometimes same genre. I don’t know why but I’ve liked dark stories even when I was a child. Guess my love of the B science fiction films partly fueled that.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I saw the title of this post, I was sure I’d read none of the books you would list – until I saw your list. In fact, I’ve read all except for The Hunger Games and Gattaca. I’ve also read The Handmaid’s Tale as well as Oryx and Crake, both by Margaret Atwood, and loved the first and despised the second. Last year I read Marge Piercy’s He, She, and It, which I think fits this category – I told you about it in reply to an article you posted about books featuring AIs. I read Anthem because I won a short story contest in middle school and was told it reminded people of Rand’s book. So I read her book and found it was similar. Fascinating for me to discover I’m better rounded in book choices than I’d have thought. Your A to Z challenge is eye-opening, Jacqui. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooooh, lovely to read this Jacqui thanks. Dystopia has its reality and it’s scary – I’ve read most of these books, still not Bradbury’s 451 or Hunger Games (I believe well written) or Well’s : The Time Machine. I’m one of the few who Like Ayn Rand … please don’t cross me off your list for so saying .. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.