As a writer, there are no rules. No restrictions. You make your fictional universe what you want it to be. You make it as mysterious or detailed as your heart desires. You decide how it begins and how (and if) it ends.
You are free to choose your own timeline, your own laws, your own history. Your own future.
At this turning point in my life, where everything is unpredictable and I am uncertain of quite literally everything having to do with my future, instead of fearing the unknown, I’m writing about it. And it’s, for lack of a better term, magical.
I have chosen to create my own world. Not to escape the real one, but to transform the terror that is uncertainty into something more than an empty page in an unfinished book.
Before you label me as a sci-fi nerd (a title which I will deny for as long as I live, whether it is secretly true or not), my futuristic society is not full of robots, or magic, nor is it a utopia or a time-travel thriller.
Like many other novels, it’s a story all about emotions and how, whether we like it or not, the way we feel affects the way we think, how we behave and, essentially, influences the finer details of tomorrow.
Ironically, my characters do not “feel.” (I’m TELLING you, they are NOT ROBOTS.) They do not acknowledge their emotions, because they are basically forbidden to do so.
That’s right. In my world, emotions exist only in stories. And showing emotion is not only a sign of weakness: it could get you sent to prison. Sort of. (I don’t hand out spoilers. You have to read the book. Which you can’t actually do, because it’s not even finished yet.)
Fear? Nope. Sadness? NOPE. And don’t get me started on love. ABSOLUTELY NOPE.
Except, for a few select characters, that nope is actually a pretty big YEP.
(They’re not Romeo and Juliet either. STAHP THAT.)
Why create something as bizarre as a society that teaches its young citizens not to tap into their emotions? Because imagining a world where we are not allowed to express our feelings is so impossibly challenging, it’s actually quite satisfying. In a sick and twisted kind of way.
For the record, I LOVE feeling. I am TOTALLY OKAY with crying every time Rue and Dobby die. (If these are spoilers, I have no respect for you as a virtual human being. Translated: YOU’RE the robot here.) I have seen Mean Girls at least 30 times because I LOVE TO LAUGH. This is why trying to write characters who don’t know how to properly process emotions is such an enjoyable pastime for me. Secret: there’s a funeral in the story, and no one cries. UGH! HOW IS THAT A THING?
Of course, it becomes an actual problem when Character A realizes he loves Character B, but has no idea what love is supposed to feel like, which makes him all sorts of confused. And then there’s the whole back-stabbing scenario (figuratively and literally) – how are you supposed to show someone you hate their existence if you’re the freaking LEADER OF THE FLAWLESS WORLD and can’t show it?
No, there is NOT a love triangle. And absolutely no fairytale ending. Not everyone dies. But the bad guy is not who you think it is. And the government is not corrupt. Entirely.
Ironically, school is, in this case, quite literally the root of all evil.
Imagine writing a scene where a character finally has the opportunity to take her bottled-up emotion out on a hologram projection of her worst enemy, though. I’m not making this stuff up.
Actually, I am. Which is the best part of all.