About Dystopian Address:

The dilemma is a common one. Picture yourself among several fellow authors, each of you in possession of your own master work. An interwoven web of experiences and desires, lessons learned and blessings imparted, rich with culture and scenery and drama, this masterpiece, this coup de gras of literature has been left to your ever-too-idle hands and their reek of incompetence. You can’t readily expose this wonder to the masses in its raw form, you can’t yet turn it into the deep and plot-infested symphony of text you see ahead, and you sure as hell aren’t about to sit back for another thirty years and try your luck with oral hand-me-downs. What are you to do?

If you’re still groping at the back of your mind, fear not. The answer we, at our humble round table of creativity, have come up with is to create a world of such haphazard adventure and lackluster lore, an endless outlet for reinvention and renovation, that one can not help but to find a place. Titled as guidelines stemming from the innards of the only newspaper still running in the apocalypse, all works are instead traditional short story fiction, some lasting a mere several thousand words and others continuing from story to story without a foreseeable end, with the simple and concise prompt of placing an average individual into the havoc and disarray of any number of conflicting, conjoining, and colliding versions of the apocalypse of the human race. Whether fleeing aliens, battling gods, or outwitting the powers that be, the story must go on!

The first story, for example, focuses on a near-future version of Austin, Texas, the capital of the author’s native state, and the events that befall a pair of inadvertent companions during their struggle to understand and escape the madness that befalls them. A deadbeat delivery man and an unpracticed prepper, the two are meant to allow for comedy, conflict, and character evolution in this most leisurely context of having no fear of betraying your dearest creations, writing key players into a box, or even worrying about their impression upon readers. The entire premise is to write freely, experiment, and, as cliché as the phrase is, just have a little fun.

From just this first story, a mere 7,000 words written 1,000 at a time a day at a time, I’ve been able to exercise tools, try out simple ideas with dialogue and description, work on transitions and plot flow, and complete to posting in full a task outside of my comfort zone of technologically-void, stereotype-ridden fantasy. My next installment, a three-part continuation of the escape of Trevor and Donovan, will let me attempt my first real travel scene, use a different format, and write out a coordinated tactical effort between multiple characters against even more characters – my most daring choreography yet and one I can focus on not overwriting every physical detail of the confrontation in, as I am want to do.

Feel free to work on, publish, and link your own creations and stories within this vague, open-ended realm to the collection as it grows. I plan on finishing a trilogy, publishing two stories by proxy of fellow authors and friends, and going from there into individual tales and continued stories as the whim demands it. For those who might like a more structured idea of our original concept for the series, I will include a bulleted list below of basic character rules and plot regulations we developed to keep ourselves from going too haywire. These are obviously suggestions and are not to be seen so much as rules of engagement in your own adventure as guidelines for our MO moving forward, to be treasured or trashed as you see fit. Enjoy.

  • Character Design

    • “Utterly Average” modernizations

    • Out of Place in Apocalypse

    • Ironically inept

    • Surprisingly capable in context

    • Hyperbolic flaws

    • Personal attachment

Most characters have a weapon or skill to fall back on as their saving grace in the beginning and are intended to develop that into a prized necessity. This was primarily done as an homage to the “RP” feel so many fantasy junkies are well-acquainted with, but also provides for an easy alternative to a plotline should one not find the inspiration readily available.  Donovan, as an example, is your stereotypical sword-wielder reimagined as an average joe American, complete with non-heroic reactions and non-superhuman knowledge of the weapon he literally just picked up (again, poking fun at traditional fantasy themes). He is my George Costanza, a manifestation of my worst and most insecure self, having no business in an apocalypse and no interest in an adventure. Place that type of normalcy in the wide array of scenarios possible in an ensuing apocalypse, void of the adept skills and surreal courage found in most novels, and voila! Your ingredients for conflict, achievement, comedy, and tragedy are all but in the oven baking.

  • Setting Development

    • Barely futuristic (fashion, tech, etc.)

    • The end of days is in your town

    • Mysterious natural events

    • Vague explanations

    • Overlapping armageddons

The idea for setting up an open-ended world to hash out our wildest trials began with throwing the regular world into chaos. Armageddon, we felt, was a hilariously overused and thus easily parodied (not to mention exploitable) theme to run with. The “joke”, as it were, is that, unlike most authors who pick a demise and run with it, we’ll be throwing everything on the table all at once, essentially making everybody and nobody right all at once. Most areas mentioned are virtually identical to their present-day form, with key differences usually relying on hyperbolic examples of what would happen should one certain influential body or another have complete hold of the reins. Austin, for example, is depicted as the exaggerated pinnacle of a Blue capital in a Red state – mass transit, public housing, and heavy officer presence. Now envelop that in the midst of alien invasion, government conspiracy, natural disaster, or biblical genocide and do your best to keep the reader guessing which is the reality.


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