Guest post from YA sci-fi author Mark Diehl

Today’s guest is the author of YA sci-fi dystopian novels. He is sharing some writing tips with you in “5 Musts Every Story in Your Genre Should Have.”

He’s also going to be giving away a $50 Amazon or gift card to a lucky commenter (who uses the form below) during his tour. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops between now and January 3, 2014, and enter there, too!

Author information:

Mark D. Diehl writes
novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each
other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity’s most
important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate
has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in
Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been
stranded in Hong Kong.
spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually
earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in
creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in
Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Blurb about Seventeen:  
Most of the world’s seventeen billion
people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive
brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the
world’s resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet
predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can
she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it
Excerpt from Seventeen:
mist was clearing. Brian found himself standing in the street outside the bar
he had entered earlier. Half a dozen battered and bleeding men stood
surrounding him, and at least as many more lay on the gravel, seriously wounded
or out cold.
attack had come from somewhere in the mist, from all directions at once. His
head and torso ached and throbbed. He locked his shaking knees to keep them
from buckling. Every muscle in his body seemed to be lengthening, pouring
downward like water. His eyelids drooped.
of the standing men took a step toward him, fists raised. Brian tried to turn
away from him, his arm flopping behind his back like a fish.
his back! His eyes opened a little wider. He straightened and forced his arm to
function, whipping out his revolver and aiming it around at the circle of
tried to pull back the hammer but too many of his knuckles were broken. He
ended up simply pointing it at the closest one, who backed away cautiously.
Once past him, Brian walked backwards, still aiming the gun as long as he could
see them. Then he turned, moving as fast as he could manage, back toward Dok’s

5 Musts Every Story in Your Genre Should Have
by Mark Diehl
1.   If
you’re writing a story about individuals struggling against oppression, you
need to have more than just those people and an oppressive government. We’ve
learned too much since 1948 for anyone to find a story like that realistic
anymore. Concentrated power is as dangerous as ever, but now that power is held
by multinational corporations acting THROUGH government.
2.   You
need outlier characters who struggle against the collective society, but you
also have to make sure they don’t appear to be part of the norm in that
culture. Without these characters, the book would be boring and tedious, as
readers simply followed along with everyone doing what they’re told, when
they’re told to do it. If your independent characters don’t seem rare enough,
though, your readers will miss out on the feeling of stifling conformity that
will clearly be the backdrop of our corporate future.
3.   Accept
that the world is running out of resources. If you have a book set in the
future where average people are still driving cars, eating food grown on farms,
and drinking clean water from the tap, your world is not believable. The
environment is being destroyed, as well. If you set your futuristic story in a
world where people can breathe the air or walk in the rain without
consequences, your world is not believable.
4.   Do
not make the mistake of assuming the West is ahead of the rest of the world
because our culture gives us “freedom.” We do not have an economic advantage
because we are free. We are free because we have an economic advantage. The liberty
we have now is a lingering effect of the temporary bulge in the upper class
that resulted from the Industrial Revolution, which gave ordinary citizens more
power in society than ever before. As the world’s resources are depleted, the
middle class will disappear again. What we think of as freedom will be revealed
as fleeting economic power and will vanish along with it. The future is not one
of personal liberty for everyone around the world; it is a global society of
suffocating corporate compliance.
5.   Remember
that a “more advanced” society is not necessarily one in which you would prefer
to live. The term means only that the society is better adapted to the
conditions that will be more prevalent in the future. Our descendants will face
life on a planet whose resources have been plundered; theirs will be a world
with a ruined ecosystem, toxic air and water, and extreme disparity of wealth
and power. Why would anyone think that’s not going to be awful? 

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6 thoughts on “Guest post from YA sci-fi author Mark Diehl

  1. Karen H says:

    Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!
    kareninnc at gmail dot com

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