Terrible Writing Advice – Chapter 12: POST APOCALYPTIC

The end is nigh, and filled with the usual mutants, biker gangs, and radioactive ruins. The old world may have been wiped away in the ashes of nuclear fire, but the cliches of the genre endure. Grab your makeshift rifle, don your gas mask, and rev up your motorcycle as we venture into the post apocalyptic wastelands!

My Honest Thoughts on the Post Apocalypse

Post Apocalyptic works tend to fit into one of two categories. The first is about a civilization that has fallen apart and is all about survival in a new wild world that still has a tangible connection with our own. This would be your Fallouts and Mad Maxes. The second type is simply using the apocalypse as a backdrop and excuse to create an entirely new setting and still have it on earth. This would be works like Dying Earth. Fantasy authors really like the second type for some reason.
I will focus on the first type. Post Apocalyptic works tend to play out like a Western. It’s an apt comparison. I really feel like Post Apocalyptic is the new Western in a lot of ways, just with more monsters. I mean, what’s not to like? You get your wandering gunslingers, lawless raiders, and vicious mutant monsters! Best of all, mutated freaks don’t carry the same historical baggage as Native Americans so the vile mutants can be slaughtered guilt free!
Strangely enough, I often find that post apocalyptic books tend to lean more towards the survivalist crowd. There is a fairly large market that panders to ‘preppers’ or people who are preparing for the breakdown of society. While I really enjoy the genre in its movie and video game forms, I don’t really care for these books’ hyper focus on logistics and realism. Also, since they skew towards realism, they have zero mutant monsters for the protagonist to fight. Instead, it’s all about hard individuals making hard decisions and being oh so much smarter than the complacent sheep who didn’t see it coming.
Maybe I just don’t like those kinds of books because I don’t really put my odds that high of surviving an actual apocalypse. I really think writers will be the first to go. At least office workers have to develop social skills. On the other hand, I can’t think of any other group who could handle prolonged isolation better than a writer.