View Full Version : Idea for a post-apocalyptic novel

March 29th, 2013, 04:20 PM
After "The Event" the city turned into a wasteland. Four gangs have taken over the major parts of the city, leaving some areas as designated "neural zones". The protagonist is an eighteen year old boy named Arthur. Unfortunately, I was planning on his weapon of choice being a bow, but with The Hunger Games being so popular, I'm worried people will immediately associate my novel with The Hunger Games. Should I scrap the bow and give the main character a different weapon or keep the bow and hope for the best?

March 29th, 2013, 04:57 PM
Unless the story has other aspects relating to the Hunger Games, don't change anything. Don't be afraid to use something popular- bows aren't quite a cliché yet :)

March 29th, 2013, 04:59 PM
It's nothing like The Hunger Games. I just worry, some people are very particular when it comes to weapons and they associate certain weapons with certain characters. Thanks for the feedback

March 29th, 2013, 05:03 PM
In times of disasters, one rarely gets an opportunity to get the weapon he/she needs. Sometimes, the best weapons aren't readily available. For example, in most Role-Playing Games, the hero of the story starts with the weakest pieces of equipment. Through training and constant exposure to the odds, he progresses from being a pushover to a force capable of changing the story on his leisure time.

I am not an expert on this topic, but I can certainly recommend that you begin with your protagonist having a prototype weapon, or something he just picked up from the road side. Heck, even a stick or a tree branch could work just like in the legends of Sir Lancelot.

Or better yet, conceptualize a weapon that he actually assembles along the way.

Good luck on your project! 8)

March 29th, 2013, 05:09 PM
I'm starting the story a few years after "The Event" so the main character has had time to obtain a weapon and make it his own. Along with the bow, he does try to pick up anything that he can use as a melee weapon while traveling.

March 29th, 2013, 05:22 PM
This might be related, but I once saw a film entitled "Battle Royale" (which has a plot very similar to the Hunger Games, but its novel was published earlier). There the protagonist starts with a Pot Lid as his primary weapon.

March 29th, 2013, 05:27 PM
I've seen Battle Royale and loved it. I'm going to re-work some parts and work up to the bow.

March 29th, 2013, 05:31 PM
Glad I'm not alone on that matter. Good luck! :-D

Saxon Violence
March 29th, 2013, 07:34 PM
This is what some folk call PAW Fiction.

P ost A pocalyptic W orld

I've written several Novellas and one Novel in the Genre.

Tastes vary.

There is a lively online body of literature in what I call "The Beans and Bullets" sub-genre.

People who are diligently preparing for heavy weather ahead, love to read all about how some Fictional Protagonist is preparing.

Authors in this sub-genre generally go into some detail about preparations—because their online fans groove on it.

In some of the more egregious examples, the author diligently notes every case of ammo and every case of beans that go into the protagonist's cache.

There are generally some neighbors or "Friends" or Kin who Scoff loud and long at the Dude's "Preps"...

And then they get their comeuppance when Disaster Strikes.

There are some very good stories in this sub-genre.

Jerry D Young has written extensively in this field. His stories are all quite good. He is the Acknowledged Dean of "Beans and Bullets"—and no, he doesn't count every Bullet and Bean.

I've written a few "Pot-Boilers" in this Genre myself—knowing that my stories would have a limited appeal, but meant to entertain my friends.

"Alas Babylon" and "One Second After" are a couple examples of Mainstream, "Slice-of-Life" approaches to PAW Literature.

Everyone who reads PAW Literature will not be a Die-Hard Survivalist...

But a significant number of your potential readers will have spent a good deal of time thinking about what happens when "The Machine Stops" and they will have read many other detailed accounts of Collapses.

You will want to avoid obvious Lapses of Logic and Cliches...

I have to advise you to read some PAW Fiction...

Actually, there is a Forum Titled "Paw Fiction Online"...

Jerry's stuff is all there along with my Novel "Calderas"...

Forum - Home (http://pawfiction.proboards.com/index.cgi)

There are a couple other places that I can refer you to, if you're interested.

Saxon Violence

March 29th, 2013, 09:13 PM
What exactly is Arthur's role? What is his standing in the city? Is he a member of a gang or an outsider? Is he attempting to join one of the four gangs or take them down? In short, what plot are you trying to write?

I would love to hear more. Cheers

March 29th, 2013, 09:27 PM
I say give it a shot, I love me some Post-Apocalyptic stories and would give it a read :)

March 29th, 2013, 09:30 PM
Arthur lives in the neutral zone with his father and sister. He has the task of gathering whatever food he can. Basically he finds himself in a sticky situation when a group of people who want to overthrow the gangs and set up a government again, kidnap him. Arthur is torn between helping these new "friends" or staying with his family and keeping them safe.

March 29th, 2013, 10:13 PM
Farmers or hunter gatherers could either equip themselves with scythes or some type of a weaponized lawnmower.

If you have some drafts sitting around, would you kindly share them with us? =D>

Anyway, I think your story will work. People time and again have tried to imagine what life would be like during times of conflict, and your work will be an addition to that collection. Hopefully you get the recipe right.

bazz cargo
March 29th, 2013, 10:51 PM
Best preper movie I have seen is Tremors.

The trouble with having the end of the world as a start is why go on? If you can crack that you will have something special to say and a complex world to say it in.

Good luck

March 29th, 2013, 11:02 PM
Is that the movie with giant worms spawning from the underground?

March 30th, 2013, 02:54 AM
I reworked the opening and decided to give Arthur a hatchet and a small hunting knife instead of a bow. Maybe I'll have him find the bow later in the story. I will be posting the story tomorrow morning at the latest

March 30th, 2013, 03:11 AM
Great job. If you don't mind me asking, does Arthur ever experience his first kill along the way and question his actions in doing so? :crushed:

March 30th, 2013, 03:19 AM
Arthur has a lot to think about, morally. Killing, stealing, and lying will all come in to play during his experience.

April 6th, 2013, 10:06 PM
Personally, my character's weapon of choice would be a sledge hammer. There are multiple uses for it aside from combat. It may help open up your scenes and give you the ability to stick your character in more situations.

April 6th, 2013, 11:58 PM
It sounds interesting, and I don't think you need to be too worried about the bow reminding people of Hunger Games. A lot of things in novels can go back to all kinds of examples in another written novel, what matters is how you write it. When I read the description, I actually thought of the young adult series Gone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_%28novel_series%29), though it's nothing along the lines of post-apocalyptic war or anything, but kids do choose sides and take one another out.

April 8th, 2013, 10:13 AM
The mind can be a very powerful tool you know. If the mind is agile, it can pick its tool as per the situation. My two cents.

April 12th, 2013, 08:29 AM
This sounds like a good idea, it could do with a bit more development, like what is the conflict of the story and who are some other characters who either aid Arthur or stand in his way. And when it comes to the bow I say go ahead and do it, I actually have a quote that helps me get over thoughts like that.

"The fact is, creativity is cheap, hard work is hard, and everyone wants to think his ideas are precious unique snowflakes, but ideas are like assholes, we've all got `em.”
- Cora; Pirate Cinema written by Cory Doctorow 2012

To me this quote says that everyone has the same ideas as someone else at some point, the difference is there are some who will put in the hard work to develop their idea into something great while others will leave it as an idea, and even if someone else has done it, do it anyway and make it yours.

April 13th, 2013, 07:34 AM
I am really quite fond of the idea of "Neutral Zones." Stemming from my love of Star Trek, they can have two very different uses. In keeping with the Star Trek reference, a neutral zone can be used as a place where warring sides will do their diplomacy, and to establish borders of wide berth.

On the other side of the coin, and how I use the idea in a story I am working on, is that a neutral zone can be a zone of peace, where people can go for help, assistance, and relaxation. The idea of "The Channel," as I call it was pretty simple, though it has yet to be fully explained in story. A treaty was signed to give civilians, those unable to participate in the practices of war, a refuge for trade to avoid... being caught in the crossfire as it were.

You could really use the idea to either effect in a story like yours. You can make it a place of tense, ever-looming hostility, or a place that gives a humanization to the factions. You can show that they still care about their people, even if in a limited sense.

Saxon Violence
April 13th, 2013, 04:16 PM
In the "Real World"* such Zones would continue to exist only until one side or the other saw some advantage in Violating or attempting to Annex the Buffer Zone.

*—Not intended to be insensitive toward the growing minority who wholeheartedly believe that "Reality" and "The Real World" are simply Cultural Constructs without Objective or Independent Existence.

Saxon Violence

April 15th, 2013, 02:28 AM
A very likeable idea. Zones imply boundaries be it due to government. Now what that government is can leave much to the imagination. A 'gangs' UN Council with a DMZ as the unoccupied areas. Could be due to radiation, disease. Can't remember were I read it but it doesn't take s much as you think to 'wreck' a civilization. Kill those who can repair it and it takes time after that. As others have said, don't worry about the weapon.

April 21st, 2013, 11:24 PM
If your plot can be linked back to the hunger games at all I would avoid the bow. An easy fix would be a cross bow or maybe throwing knives.

April 22nd, 2013, 07:48 PM
I wouldn't be concerned with giving Arthur a bow in the setting you describe. If there are in fact roving bands of gangs, then a bow would be a logical weapon to have due it's silence when in use. The noise of a gun would draw attention to it's user and it also has the added benefit of retrievable ammunition. You could work in these facts of why he chose a bow over a gun very easily. If I moved alone in such a setting I would perhaps carry a sidearm, but would use the bow instead for the stealth qualities I listed. As far as the Hunger Games reference, it is no more cliched to that story as the Hunger Games main character was to Legollas in LOTR.
My two coppers =)