Utopias

Question: How do I NOT write a Utopian world? I feel like everything I write is a Utopian, and those aren't any good. Help?


Answer: I have to guess a little at what your challenge is but...

If you have imagined a utopian world, you might try asking yourself what the biggest threat this world might encounter? What could disrupt or undermine this utopia? Who might develop a resentment against it?

Another approach would be to ask how this world got to be a utopia. What were the struggles that led to its formation? Perhaps there is a story in there.

Or you could ask what other communities exist outside this utopia that could be jealous of its resources and want to plunder them.

Any of these questions might give you the seeds of a plot.

You could also go more personal and ask what the biggest challenge an individual might face in this world. Sometimes, when all kinds of problems are taken care of, it opens space for people to have different kinds of worries.

For instance, if the biggest challenge in a primitive society is getting enough to eat, then agriculture may solve that problem. And without that worry, the next challenge might be building a strong family that can out-compete other families for wealth and power over the course of generations.

And once that problem is solved, the next challenge might be that of succession. What do you do when the heir to the family isn't up to the job? Maybe you have to start building a world based on merit not inheritance?

Or maybe once you have a world based on law-and-order by making everyone follow rules and think the same, the next challenge is making a world tolerant of individuality.

Lots of possibilities if you think about them.

Best of luck.

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