Wednesday, June 1, 2016

IWSG Summer and Sean MacLachlan's 5 Reasons to Write Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
  
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Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer.

"Summer turns me upside down.
Oh, summer, summer, summer - it's like a merry go round."
-The Cars, "Magic"

It's summer. Everything is upside down. Schedules change. The weather is amazing. And, my main jobs are: yardwork and writing - with a little tutoring thrown in to keep me honest.

My happiness is also my insecurity: summer is so awesome that I want to wake with the dawn and sleep only when it's dark. I want to live every moment to the fullest. And, I want to write - somehow.

This summer, I'm hoping to write something so different than "normal" for me that it fits into the upside-down-ness of my schedule. Maybe, I'll even try something Post-Apocalyptic? Sean MacLachlan gives five good reasons to write it.



Five Reasons to Write Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
By Sean McLachlan


Hi! I’m Sean McLachlan, author of the Toxic World series of post-apocalyptic books. I’m here to tell my fellow writers why writing about miserable people in a radioactive, poisonous wasteland can be uplifting and fun. Here are five reasons to destroy the world in your novels and dance upon the ruins.


Destroying Civilization Makes You Feel Good!
Had a bad day? Get caught in a traffic jam while hurrying to a meeting? Did your boss scream at you in front of your coworkers? Get food poisoning at your local fast food restaurant? Did your upstairs neighbor let her dog poop in the foyer and then leave for work without cleaning it up?
Well, now you can have your revenge. Why settle for wiping these people out when you can wipe out the entire society that spawned them? You’ll never have to deal with them again!
And yeah, my upstairs neighbor actually did that. She was evicted.


You Don’t Have to Write About Zombies!
I’m sick of the zombie thing. Like really, really sick. Sicker than when I saw what my upstairs neighbor did. Luckily not all post-apocalyptic novels need to have zombies. Mine don’t. Well, they do have the tweakers, who are crazy, violent addicts who sniff chemicals from the Old Times. They’re kinda close to zombies, being mindless cannibals, but they’re not dead yet. Sad to say, I based the tweakers on the glue sniffers in Tangier, where I regularly go for writing retreats. Other than the cannibalism, I didn’t have to exaggerate them much.


You Get to Tackle Real-World Issues!
War, greed, overpopulation, nuclear holocaust, climate change, you name it! All those hot button issues that trouble us in the real world can make your writing more relevant. My books focus a lot on environmental degradation. In the United States, it’s become trendy to argue about whether humanity is affecting the environment or not. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything to argue about, but I think we can all agree that pumping toxins into our air and water supply at an ever-increasing rate is a really, really bad idea.


You Can Really Get Your Readers Angry!
In my books, one stop on the road to ruin was the Biowars. When the various factions found they couldn’t destroy each other with conventional weapons and the occasional nuke, they turned to biological weapons. Some of these manmade diseases targeted farm animals, but they mutated to affect other animals too. I’ve had readers send me angry emails about the fact that I made horses and dogs go extinct. I’ve never had a reader complain that I killed off 90% of the human population. Not sure what that says about my readers.


Bounce the Rubble!
Why stop with only one apocalypse? Heck, humans are dumb and we’ll make the same mistakes over and over again! Probably the best rubble-bouncing book I’ve ever read is the overlooked classic Out of the Mouth of the Dragon by Mark Geston. Massive armies clash to bring on Armageddon, but a few people survive, only to build up their populations and armaments to try again. If at first you don’t succeed…


Sean McLachlan hasn’t quite figured out how to destroy the Internet yet, but he’s working on it. Feel free to visit him at his blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.




In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . . 
A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son. 
A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump. 
The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command. 
One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.


Amazon


Are you ready for summer? Do you have any "ironic" stories from your past involving summer?
And, have you written or read any post-apocalyptic fiction?

I highly recommend Sean's Radio Hope! I read it and loved it! It's gritty good. :) The loveable characters (can I say that about  post-apocalyptic fiction characters who shoot, fight, and bargain?), and the action-packed plot make it a great read. And, after I originally wrote this post, I went on to read more Toxic World books: Refuge from the Righteous Horde, Scavenger, and We had Flags. All continued to be fast-paced, exciting, and excellently written!




Last note (really): I've been adding some lists to listopia on goodreads, and I would love to see these lists added to by others, or get more votes for the books already listed. BTW, I didn't create lists for my own books, just other awesome authors' books. I would like some entries and votes for Urban Fairy Tales, and Best Future Noir Reads.

46 comments:

Erika said...

I am in love with your summer philosophy! Yard work, writing and living ever minute in the sunshine. The post apocalyptic fiction part is really fun too. Currently the only ones I have read are Hunger Games and a zombie series by Tracey Ward which I am really loving, but hey, the reasons to write one inspired me. Thank you :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kill the people, just don't kill all the animals - funny.
Now that you mention it, killing off most of the world might feel good...

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats to Sean! The first reason to write post-apocalyptic fiction is why I loved playing the game of Age of Mythology so much. There is something satisfying in destroying the other civilization.

For me, summer isn't all that different than any other time of the year. Then again, that's what happens when you work full-time and don't have children. I do get all Saturdays off in the summer, so that's always something to look forward to. :)

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I like that you can tackle real world issues in any story setting, but I think dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic settings are really cool. They have a sort of fantasy feel, where the writer can do loads of 'off' things. I really enjoyed this post, Sean. Nice meeting you!

Arlee Bird said...

I live a life of irony. I'm like a marshmallow that never melts floating in a cup of hot chocolate. Post-apocalypticism is my nightmare and it is my dream. If I were a zombie you'd probably never tell the difference between me and the guy who isn't.

Don't mind me. I'm just rambling writing.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Nick Wilford said...

Well, with those longer days hopefully you'll have more time to write too! I hope you have fun writing something different. There's something very freeing about writing that kind of story as you get to "reset" the world and make up loads of new rules.

cleemckenzie said...

I'm beginning to appreciate upside-down. I was getting a bit stagnant. Here's to a wonderful summer.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

When my kids were young, I never wrote much in the summer. Now, I soak in the pool whenever I'm trying to figure out a scene.
Love Sean's reasons.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sean did a great job with his reasons, didn't he? I'm impressed by his blogging and novels!

Tyrean Martinson said...

It's terribly ironic that Sean's had more complaints about animal deaths.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I just like the change of weather, but yes, having kids makes the pace change.
Hope you have some wonderful Saturdays!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for stopping by, SA!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yay! A rambling comment - I love it, Arlee. It makes me feel all comfy like to know that I'm not the only one that writes those.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's so true. New rules are super fun!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, C.Lee! I hope you have a wonderful summer, too!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love your summer ritual! My kids can drive themselves - well, older drives youngest, so I am less busy over the summer since they are somehow in the same canoe and kayak group although one canoes and one kayaks.
Me, too.

Sarah Foster said...

Summer doesn't really mean anything different for me except for the fact that it gets HOT. But having some extra daylight is always good.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Extra daylight keeps me moving! :)

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Glad you're having fun with light.

Juneta Key said...

I don't read a lot of post-Apocalyptic but I like movies about it. Like disaster movies too. Hate Zombie stuff but like Vampire, Werewolves, Frankenstein, Ghost stuff like that there.

I'm enjoying the sunshine of summer too. Happy Summer and Writing,
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Shannon Lawrence said...

My post-apocalyptic tends toward the viral/biological. It's fun to explore these issues and, yes, to kill off a bunch of people to consider how things would be without so many people around.

Enjoy turning your writing upside down, Tyrean!

Liza said...

Glad Sean's neighbor was evicted. I could see going pretty post-apocalyptic myself, had I discovered that deposit in the hallway.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I'm with you when summer is in full bloom!

I wrote 2 post-apocalyptic books, and they were fun and harrowing to write. It got me thinking~ what ifs.

Enjoy the summer with your family and friends!!!!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There are so many ways an apocalypse could go down. A writer could have a lot of fun with it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Summer here in FL is different for me than my summers in the NE, but I go with the flow and enjoy it the best I can. :)

This line of Sean's totally cracked me up - "Why settle for wiping these people out when you can wipe out the entire society that spawned them?"

EEGiorgi said...

I love post-apocalyptic fiction, I love to both read it and write it. :-) And enjoy the summer, I wish yardwork and writing was all I had to do in summer. You are lucky so please enjoy and don't let the anxiety take these privileges away from you.

Angela Brown said...

I think your attitude to take on a new challenge is commendable. As for summer, I'm only mildly ready for it. I'm not big on being fried like a dropped egg on a heated sidewalk. That's what summer tends to mean for me lol!

Chemist Ken said...

I always enter summer full of hope that I'll get lots of writing done. Never seems to happen though. That pesky family of mine keeps wanting to do stuff outside.

Laurel Garver said...

Ah, yes, yardwork. I keep meaning to put in some veggies...should have a month ago. I may have to be happy with flowers and some herbs. Hope your writing time is fun and fruitful.

Sean makes some compelling arguments. I now have the strange urge to write a post-apocalyptic black comedy. It would be a fun change of pace from the coming-of-age YA drama I usually write. Ideas brewing....

Gwen Gardner said...

Oh I have a feeling your summer is going to be great and you're going to write something awesome! Good luck, Tyrean.

Sean's book looks great--I love post apocalyptic fiction.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sean's book don't have zombies, which make them refreshing post-Apocalyptic reads.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Shannon!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Loved your post-apocalyptic novels, too, Cathrina!

Tyrean Martinson said...

So true!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yeah - Sean has some great statements! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I know. I'm thankful that those are my main tasks ahead.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Ouch! It's not that hot here. I hope you stay cool!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Doing stuff outside is good!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sean does make some compelling arguments!

Tyrean Martinson said...

THanks, Gwen!

Karen Lange said...

I've never written this kind of fiction before, but Sean makes a convincing case for doing so. Thanks to both of you for sharing! :)

cleemckenzie said...

It looks like a full one so far. Who made all of these arrangements and put them on the calendar?

Michelle Wallace said...

Post-apocalyptic stories don't have to include zombies? *exhales*
Okay, so MAYBE I'll try it one day...

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Summer is such a special time- you do want to just soak in every moment of it.

I made my reader niece mad- she told me to kill a few characters, so I did. Then she gave me thunder. I guess I chose the wrong sort of situation to swing the ax.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Summer does flip the schedule upside down. And it's really nice to get to work outdoors. I agree with Sean. I'm so done with zombies. I'm glad there are a few post-apocalyptic stories out there without them.
I've never made any lists on Goodreads. I'll look yours up and see how they work.
Good luck with your new summer story ideas!