Apocalypses are popular nowadays – mainstream popular. You look at the success of shows like The Walking Dead and responses to offerings like Under the Dome and it’s clear that people aren’t necessarily clamoring for utopian escapism. They are quite willing to venture down darker pathways.
The same applies to written fiction. Post apocalyptic and dystopian stories, like The Hunger Games, are all the rage. Readers don’t necessarily shy from gut-wrenching tales, ones that often contain grim material and even scenes of horror. And the disasters aren’t only natural events. They are just as likely to be man-made, the result of tinkering with science for the sake of profit and/or warfare or the result of socio-political upheaval.
When I write anything speculative involving a disaster, I try to include three key elements: enigma, drama and trauma. The enigma is part and parcel with the speculative aspect. Typically, you won’t be dealing with an ordinary earthquake, tornado or similar event. Either it will be something of monstrous proportions or originate from a less natural source. With that comes the question why? What caused this? How did it happen? Who is involved? The stories don’t always provide all of the answers but they usually pose the questions.
The drama often comes in the form of facing peril. The disaster puts the main character and any loved ones at risk. Action is often required on their part to salvage something or someone they care about – possibly themselves. There are time constraints and a sense of urgency there that accentuates the story, the pacing of the tale reflecting this at critical points. This drama is the instigator of heightened emotion and excitement, something speculative fiction readers tend to demand.
And the trauma? Typically, you don’t encounter a disaster without someone getting hurt or killed, possibly even the protagonist, despite heroic efforts. Even if the victims remain faceless during the story, it’s difficult to dismiss the fact they are there. Tragedy is inherent to this type of fiction and sacrifice or loss of some kind quite common.
I think you’ll really enjoy the disaster tales they came up with, well polished bites of enigma, drama and trauma. I encourage you to follow the link, listen to all of these stories and vote for your favourite – a great opportunity for free thrills and chills.
Listen to this year’s Wicked Women Writers stories here and vote for your favourite.
You can learn more about Chantal and her work at her website, Facebook page, Amazon Author Page, Twitter, Scribd.com, and her Goodreads Author Page.