Dystopian fiction – Did it spur Doomsday prepping?

My family and I are into Doomsday Preppers.  Have you seen that show?  They’re crazy?!  Well, sort of.  I understand needing to prepare for hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters that may happen.  All of those who were in Super Storm Sandy’s path know what I’m talking about, and we’ve been through disasters like this where I live.  The April 27th tornadoes, Hurricane Katrina, other hurricanes that get bad too.  So, I can understand stock piling certain foods – like boxed milk, canned foods, frozen bread, etc.

But, to see that these people will live in fear of the worst possible thing imaginable and going off the grid, underground, etc makes me wonder, is this the creative types fault?

With the popularity of dystopian fiction, is it our fault people are are preppers?

Think about it.  Would Katniss be scouring the woods for food if she had been a prepper?  Would the people in Revolution

be running around the woods using leaves instead of toilet paper if they had been preppers?  Probably so, but with the popularity of The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, Revolution, Enclave, The Host, 2012, the Divergent Series, that Will Smith movie, no not Men In Black, and I’m sure there are countless other dystopian novels about the apocoloypse and doomsday that spur our fear about the end of the world.

So, is it our fault that creative minds have spurred such a “prepping” need amongst humans?  Would people be prepping if we didn’t have the really cool fiction I like to read and watch (and am considering writing)?

I know in the past, people have prepared for atomic bombs and certain disasters, but to this level?  Underground bunkers, weapons stockpiled, food stockpiled, hazmat suits, etc?  Yes, during times of war, there were certain issues that had to be prepared for, but now, is it really necessary?  Why are people freaking out about “the apocolypse”?  Seriously, did we bring this upon ourselves?

Just a thought…

Do you read Dystopian fiction?  Are you into it?  Do you prep?

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Vacation and the Writer’s Brain

Friday, my family and I headed to Millington, TN to stay in Meeman-Shelby State Park.  When we arrived that evening, we were surprised to see that there weren’t many other people around us.  And when I say not many, I mean there was one occupied cabin beside ours, and I never saw that person.  There were also these strange red balloons in our cabin that has sparked a horror story that will hopefully be done by Halloween.  Anyway, I digress.

The drive to the state park was somewhere between two and three hours long.  I couldn’t decide what to do with my free time.  I broke out my novel soundtrack.  (I’ll share that at a later date.)  Then I decided that I didn’t really want to listen to it since my family was talking, and I didn’t want to look like an outcast.  So, I broke out my notebook, stared at it for a moment wanting to write something on my novel.  But, since I hate hand-writing my novels and short stories, I set it aside and mulled over it.  (And the only reason I hate hand-writing my work is because I feel as if I’m a better writer while typing.  I’m an odd bird.  I know.)

That night, I didn’t get anything written because we had groceries to buy and everything to get situated.

The view from the boat dock on the lake

The next day, I carried around a notebook with me when we went to the boat dock.  I suffer from vertigo, so being in a boat makes me sick (as well as being on a pier).  I didn’t go on the boat ride but went back to the cabin with my nephew and mom.  While Eli took a nap, I wrote.

The next day, we went to the zoo, and when I got back to the cabin, I went to bed (at 7:30) because of the vertigo medicine I had to take after a bad vertigo attack and slept until eight the next morning.  I think I woke up briefly to brush my teeth and change into some pajamas before going back to bed.

So, the next day, we did about the same thing we did before the zoo.  My nieces and nephew, my sister, brother in law and dad went on a boat ride.  I avoided the water by working on short story (the aforementioned horror story) and stopped because it was freaking me out.  😉  Isn’t it sad when your own imagination freaks you out?

Anyway, after getting home, I wrote.  I missed the characters of my WIP.  (Sad.  I know.)

My beautiful nieces and handsome nephew... and well, yes, I'm there too.

Okay, that was a long introduction to say this.  My mind was extremely active.  I wanted to write write write.  Eventually, I learned that I didn’t have to write during vacation.  It was in fact a break from the real world, but I found it extremely difficult.  I was constantly keeping up with my social media sites when I actually had cell phone service, but unfortunately, my laptop’s battery died and there wasn’t the right plug-in to charge it.  (That was probably the biggest reason I didn’t write more than I did.)

I would also lie down at night mentally going over all of the things that I had to do when I got home from vacation.  Why doesn’t my mind relax?  Maybe it’s because I am a writer.  Seriously, our brains never take a break, do they?  We’re constantly thinking of our WIPs or new ideas we’d like to turn into something.  Or we’re outlining for NaNoWriMo, ROW80 (even though I’m skipping this round), thinking about our word count/page goals.  Then, we have to worry with keeping up our social media sites and building our author platform.  Right now, I’m working with Melissa Foster and 34 other authors as we build a launch party for the release of Melissa’s third novel, Come Back to Me.  I’m behind on what’s going on there, so I was constantly receiving emails and facebook notifications about that.

So, can a writer actually take a vacation?  I’m not sure.  I’m still working on that, and we do need them.  We don’t want to get burned out so much that our writing begins to suffer from it.  Although, the vacation I had only made me want to write more, so I think it actually helped me some.  I was still worrying about keeping up with everything else that I wasn’t able to because of no cell phone service or internet.

Don’t get me wrong.  Vacation was wonderful.  The view from the cabin was amazing, even if we were almost eaten alive by giant mosquitoes.

Do you have a hard time relaxing even though you know you should, or are you one of the lucky ones who can take a break when you need it?

Editing: A Long, Grueling Process

As I mentioned in my previous post, I feel like editing a short story or a novel is a long, grueling process.  Any kind of editing can exhaust you to the point where you just feel like giving up.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much more of my energy and time goes into the editing process.  For the past few days, I have been working on the re-write of my second novel “The Article” (Working Title).  I have only managed to edit/re-write six chapters though.  I spend so much of my time going over each paragraph wondering if I’m letting my readers see enough of the story without forcing it on them.  I don’t want to beat them over the head with redundant wording or too much details.  Then on the other hand, I don’t want them lacking details on setting or on the feelings of my main character.

I am also changing the entire novel from third person point of view to first.  It’s almost like a psychological thriller, and I want my readers in the heads of either the 4 main characters or just the one.  (I can’t even decide how many points of views I want in this novel, and I am driving myself crazy with trying to decide.)  Anyways, third person just wasn’t working for me.  I believe that this story needs to be felt instead of merely just read like all good books, but I felt like first person would help get that across better in this particular instance.

Too, I’ve been working on the dialogue.  I needed to freshen it up.  Make people actually talk like Southerns but not rednecks.  I noticed in my read-back that I had written everything too formal.  Being from Mississippi, I know how we Southerns like to leave off the letter ‘g’ at the end of words: such as walkin’ instead of walking.  So now, I feel like I’m writing an entire novel without the letter ‘g’, but it’s how we talk.  I’m guilty of it myself, so I had to go back and change some of the words in my dialogue.  I just didn’t want my people sounding too formal.  I, mean, most people don’t talk like this : “I believe that I would like to go to the lake and fish today.”  Instead, here, we’d say:  “I’m probly goin’ fishin’ today.”  Since my novel takes place in Mississippi, I had to fix all of this.

Although making the dialogue sound real is important, it’s also important not to give too much away in dialogue, but giving too little isn’t good enough either.    So, there’s this whole balance you have to find and decide for yourself if it’s good enough or not.  How do you know if it’s good enough?  How much is too much?  I don’t know, honestly.  I guess you just have to have a gut feeling about it.  When I go back over my stuff to edit it, I just know what sounds good and what doesn’t.  It also helps to have other people read it and tell you what they think.  If you have a writer friend or someone who likes to read then they can be very helpful in telling you what sounds good and what doesn’t.  Reading out loud is a good trick too although I feel silly doing it.  It does help though.

I’ve also been working on rewording confusing sentences and checking my grammar. I want to make sure that I sound competent, and I don’t want people reading my stuff and saying, “Oh my. I can’t believe she thinks that’s the way to write and capture an audience.” I want to write likeable and memorable stuff.

I’m also making sure that I’m not using filter words such as: seems and felt.  Here is the perfect article for reading about filter words.

When I was in college, taking a fiction writing workshop class, I was taught about these words and used them like crazy through my stories. It’s important not to use them because it detracts from the story. You can’t “see” the world around because it’s being filtered. You’re being told how to feel instead of feeling it yourself or being told what you see instead of seeing it yourself.

There’s a lot to look out for when editing. These are just the tip of iceberg in the editing process. I know that there are editors out there for people, but in my opinion, I like the self-editing option. I want my work to be the best it can before I send it out to anyone else for consideration. So, I will go through this long, arduous task in order to write the best that I can.

What have you learned through editing and how important it is?