Building a World for a Novel – Part 36
Part 36: The Perfect World
Well, there you go. You’ve done it. A perfect world. Erm… wait a minute. IS your world perfect? Is that what you really meant to do?
A world that is too perfect, one that has “just so” people in it, that has a perfect government, that is in all ways perfect is what we call a Utopia. Utopias are fun to read about, but they are usually nothing more than philosophical treatises which give the author a chance to tell you exactly how the world should be. The opposite of a Utopia is a Dystopia, George Orwell‘s book, Nineteen Eighty-Four is an excellent dystopian novel.
I would suggest that if you plan to swing one way or the other between Utopia and Dystopia, you go for the dystopian novel, for in that form, you at least have grounds for a great deal of conflict.
As writers we understand that conflict is the source of plot, action, and motivation. A world that is too perfect to support conflict is a great vacation spot, but useless unless you are doing a travelogue for the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy (a series of novels, by the way, by far more dystopian than utopian), you need to stir things up a bit.
The bottom line is: Be sure you have enough room for conflict in your new world. Without it you won’t have a story.
Continued in Part 37