As someone who spent most of her life planning to become an author, finishing a good dystopia (or really, any good novel) always left me with a burning question: What inspired this? The brainstorm stage behind starting a story or essay has always been my favorite part of the writing process. Specifically, after reading Lord of the Flies for the first time, I was curious as to how William Golding (pictured below) could come up with something so morbid. After doing some research, I learned that Golding served in World War II and was heavily inspired by the terrors of war for his book, and also developed a lot of life philosophies after his experience. I think it would be really interesting to develop a timeline of sorts, and “plot” the dystopian novels that were published across the years. I personally believe that “clusters” would form around important world events.
Additionally, I think it would be super interesting to ask authors (or do extensive research) about why they chose a specific sub-genre to represent their ideas. Why would one choose a fantastical dystopia over a post-apocalyptic one? This also makes me wonder if authors generally pick their characters and storyline before their sub-genre, or vice versa. Is there a different method to writing novels for dystopian writers?
Another thing I wish to understand about dystopian novels is why the YA target group is so popular. I understand this is the age group that tends to have more time to read, tweet, go to the movies etc.; but it seems unrealistic that teenagers are always leading the rebellion. I would be interested to do some quick historical research to see examples of this in real life. Maybe authors intended to motivate younger crowds to be active in their societies?
Overall, I hope to be able to research the true motivations behind the authors of these works. I personally believe (though, I am biased because all my favorite books are dystopias) that dystopian novels are more important to society than other fictions, and thus, more thought goes into writing them. I am particularly interested in researching historical context of the world before the publication of certain books, and perhaps components of the authors’ lives that could’ve influenced the novel.