Some time ago I posted about the desire to write something of an utopian story. It’s been dancing around my head for a while, and I’ve brainstormed a few ideas – mostly what a utopian society would look like to me; what would it include, how would the people survive, and what would make it so ideal that to many it’s a paradise.
Tough questions that need answering. I think I’ve cemented my world, most of it. I have the utopia setting in the cities and how they work not only a self-reliant communities but also putting the focus on the good of the community/world and away from personal gain that would be the corrupting factor. Clean, reusable energy is used throughout the cities, and even in transportation – which I’ve limited to internal city trains/streetcars and external transport vehicles that ship excess material/food/technology to other cities. (I’ve basically got rid of the personal car and hop that everything inside the city can run on public transportation.)
I’ve also created a spark of a conflict. Not everyone in this futuristic time period would want to live in a utopian city – there are always rebels of some kind and thus they have branched off into their own network of towns but end up preying on the cities and their convoy’s, making leaving a city more dangerous and less likely to happen on a regular basis. Of course with futuristic technology and holo-displays/video chat, there’s little need to travel anyways lol.
But despite working out some groups and the basics of the world, I still lack a real plot or in particular a real conflict. I mean how can a utopia have conflict? My first idea of my main character being an outsider to the city, a scanner who works for those in the lower ends/underground markets may work, but it’ll show the darker belly of the utopia society, which would obvious exist, but I feel if I start with that, I’ll make the utopia sound more like a dystopia… or somewhere in between. I’m holding on to this idea, in the end it may take a form of an “Indiana Jones”, “Tomb Raider”, “Uncharted” story instead. Which can work, but I’ll need to work out my “McGuffin” first.
Originally I had an idea that I dismissed but is coming back to me now with new potential. I watched an anime called “My Lie In April” with a heart wrenching and tear draining ending. I loved the music theme and wondered if I can do something about it in a futuristic setting. In this story/plot, I have my main character as an overachiever with a musical talent that many applaud but she herself lacks the heart of playing. In this futuristic society children/teens are given career tests to help them focus on their future path, this MC has talents enough to pursue a life in music or a life in any other field. Her mother is pushing towards politics – like herself, impressing on her family name and tradition that helped formed this particular city into it’s utopian self. The MC has no heart for either career path and is placed in a state of emo limbo on what to do with her life.
Her friends take her out one night, I’m thinking musical friends whom she competes with on the ‘orchestra’ stage, they take her to one of the underground pubs, somewhere they aren’t supposed to be (given age and status), where live bands perform. There they meet a band made up of Nomads from the last nomad convoy that arrived earlier that day. The lead singer/guitar player is full of life and energy that creates a spark in the MC. It is afterwards they discover they know one another from childhood when the guitar player girl and stayed in the city to complete a year of schooling before traveling back with her family. As they fill each other in on old times, the guitar girls asks the MC to play with them, which she refuses.
From here I have an idea of the MC learning to find the heart in her music with the help of the guitar girl, ending with a choice of following her friend as a nomad to sing at different city pubs for money, or to remain in the city. She could still play music but it won’t be the same without the guitarist. The conflict arises when her mother learns of these late night shenanigans and gives her an ultimatum about either staying in the city or leaving, if she leaves she’ll be disowned.
Perhaps a bit over-dramatic… but I feel the MC needs to make a tough choice on whether to follow her heart or stay the path that is safe and secure. I’m also not sure what type of music the MC would play; instrumental I would think the piano or maybe the violin, something sophisticated for orchestra/symphony use but could also transfer into a rock band. The second idea would be her own set of pipes or voice…
This story is still miles away from being written, and I doubt I’ll find time to research and fill in the blanks before this year’s nanowrimo, but I’d love to hear any feedback on my idea so far. Also, any ideas on what your utopia would look like?