Monday, September 17, 2012


As I was perusing the pins and likes and posts of the online world the other day, I came across a blog post about some poor, dystopian-burned-out soul, who was begging writers everywhere to--PUH-LEEEASE--put him out of his dystopian misery, and accept the challenge to.... 

...wait for it... 

... write a utopia. 

I admit. I sat there for a moment, contemplating the possibility of actually taking on said challenge myself, before realizing it would be a complete failure from the beginning. Because, lets be honest. It would. Be a failure, that is. A TRUE Utopia would be nigh near impossible to write. 

Don't get me wrong. I admit, someone probably COULD write it. No doubt. 

But it'd be like warm milk and Xanax for an insomniac. Five pages in and every reader would be tossing back some serious Zzzzzzz's! 

The World English Dictionary describes a Utopia as being "any real or imaginary society, or place, state, etc. considered to be perfect or ideal."

Sounds nice, right? But for the purposes of story telling? Mmmm... not so much. Stories NEED conflict. They THRIVE on unrest. And FEED off of discord. Its the truth. You know it. Because there a fight isn't a fight without a bad guy. No one grows without a challenge. Strength isn't achieved without opposition. And lessons can't be learned if everything is always perfect. 

Harry? Katniss? Luke? Frodo? What would these stories BE without their evil counterparts? The Voldermorts, Snows, Darths and creepy, swiveling, all-seeing eyes of doom? 

Well certainly not best sellers, that's for sure!

Same with real life. Everything needs a conflict. Its how we grow. Learn. And push ourselves to achieve greatness. Even something as simple as a football game just wouldn't be the same without an arch rival. EVEN IF it means enduring a heartbreaking loss--prepackaged with rookie mistakes, an incompetent kicker (well, several), six turnovers, a stadium filled with too much red, and a blown overtime--nursing some serious wounds, and enduring another year of humility until the next great battle... even if accepting conflict means all that? 

Totally worth it.

[Who, me? No! Not bitter at all!]

Because, lets be honest... doesn't it make the story THAT much better? The reward THAT much greater? The victory THAT much sweeter? The blood, sweat and tears THAT much more worth it? 

Conflict, people. THAT's what its all about. 

But don't let me be your Johnny Raincloud. Go ahead. Write your Utopia. Good luck. May the focre be with you, and all that jazz. I'm ready with my fuzzy socks, warm milk and comfy blanket. Bring on the nap! 

Until then? I'm off to nurse my wounded BYU pride... I appreciate conflict. But I still hate you, Utah. 


Crystalee said...

Yeah, I feel ya on the pain. I'd decked out my office cube at work, only to be mocked hard core when I came in this morning. Blasted Ute fans...even if one of them is my husband!

Johanna Garth said...

Some of my favorite books are about utopia's gone wrong (which make them sort of dystopia's from another angle).

Julie said...

Crystalee: I KNOW! I saw the pics of your lovely cube... oh the humiliation!! I hope you kept up the blue anyway ( : True blue, through and through!!

P.s. Don't know HOW you can live with a Ute... you poor dear!! Haha!

Johanna: Agreed. I suppose the problem is trying to write a TRUE Utopia... its impossible, isn't it? Stories NEED conflict, and yet... to give a Utopia conflict defies the very nature of a Utopia! Its a conundrum, to be sure ( :

Maggie said...

Too right! It's just like one of my favorite things from Brandon Sanderson's class. He flat-out said, "Plot is crap happening."

Julie said...

"Plot is crap happening"

Oh my heart, I LOVE THIS!!!

*sigh*... Bran-dawg, how wise you are!!

Mandi said...

I watched the "Holy War" yesterday. I was like, "Dayum!" I thought watching a UofM v Michigan State game was thrilling! You Mormons sure do love your football! If I went to either of those schools, you'd welcome me. I go "cray-cray" for a good football rivalry game!

But don't worry, I'm sure you're not the only one bruised and battered. Brigham Young is probably crying from the grave, mopping up his tears with his beard. I mean, this is only the third time BYU has lost to Utah... LOL How much do you expect a man to take?

Speaking of, and I hate to ask, how Rob doing in the aftermath of this catastrophic loss? Has he come out from underneath the covers, yet? The man has to be pretty sore--I've seen his BYU pride which is pretty steadfast and true. LOL

Julie said...

Mandi: Hahahaha! Oh my heart, I love you! Brigham Young mopping up tears with his beard... where you do you come up with this stuff?!

*abs hurting from laughter*

And I'm SO with you! I love me a good rivalry game! And--although it didn't work out so well THIS time--I love it when the game is close and down to the wire. Nothin' like a good overtime rival game to get the blood pumpin'!

Like I said. Usually this is good. Not so much when your'e on the loosing side. Mmmm... hmmmm.

And no. Rob is still in full blown mourning. (I caught him with the sackcloth and ashes yesterday).... He didn't even bother reading articles or checking rankings. Which is pretty much like canceling Christmas, as far as Rob goes. Its bad. My fingers are crossed he will recover shortly ( :

Mandi said...

Where do I get them? My mother has been asking me the same question for years. I've yet to find an answer for her. LOL

Poor Rob. He seems quite contrite. I felt the same when the U.S got silver in Hockey and Canada got Gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Then I had to relive the sorrow at a Michael Buble Concert the following March when he told all of Detroit (also known as "HockeyTown") to "Suck it" as he rubbed in our faces that the Canadians won the gold metal in double over time. He also relished in our booing, the jerk! I'm looking forward to a payback come 2014 in Russia.

But to be fair, Hockey really is Canada's only sport. That and curling which I don't understand the electrifying excitement over. You slide a teapot on some ice and you have two chimney sweeps brush the ice in front of it until it lands on a marked target. I mean, who am I to judge on people's version of fun? But as I think if it, Canada is like a loft apartment over a really great American Party. So go figure... Wannabes! LOL

Pat Rob on the back for me. I understand his pain to be jilted in the face of lost. I pray his spirits rise soon too. LOL

Julie said...

Mands: Yes. Yes that WOULD be tough! Stupid Michael Bubbly ( :

*throws rotten tomatoes*

Haha! And yes, agreed about the curling... what IS it with that sport, and how in the WORLD did it become olympic?! I mean, really? Can we even call it a sport? I feel like my "Marching-band-is-a-sport" arguments would hold up the definition better than teapot chimney sweeps!!

D.V. Sheppard said...

Writing about a Utopian society? I suppose the only way you could pull that off would be to write a book about conflict: The rise of an evil villain.It could be brilliant really. If well written, if could be one of the most painful and terrifying books I can imagine. Perhaps sickening really O.o
It would probably become a classic. One of those classics that people have to admit deserves some respect, but otherwise is hated by most. Though, perhaps it could tell the story of the rise and fall of said villain.
Whatever. Not my cup o' tea. I'll let some other tortured soul feel compelled to write that. I'd rather uplift in some way, methinks. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this blogger has never actually read Utopia. Because Utopia means two things. It means a perfect place, and it means NO place. As in,no place is perfect. At least not in thus life, eh? But seriously. Utopia isn't a Utopia. That's the whole point.

Mandi said...

If you had looked into a good old fashioned Dictionary, (I prefer Websters) you'd see that it states the following definition that IS "Utopia." "any real or imaginary society, place, state, etc, considered to be perfect or ideal." Perfection is impossible unless your auditioning for the role of Jesus Christ. Now, you and I both know the impossibility of perfection because if a person is truly perfect, it doesn't allow for plot tension and therefore no one wants to read a book that can't arch a storyline on perfection.

Now, I understood exactly what Julie implied and *I* HAVE read Utopia. And Utopia (the book) proved that. Lets not major on the minors, please? I think you were under the impression that this blog was named Nincompoop Corner and the last I checked it wasn't. LOL K?

Peggy Eddleman said...

I don't know that writing a utopia IS possible. I mean isn't one man's utopia another man's dystopia? Look at all the dystopias out there. Those people controlling the government did it so that they could create a utopia, right? The story is about the people who didn't consider it a utopia. Utopias are just the other side of the coin, imo.

Julie said...

Mands: Well said. I'll give you a HALLELUJAH and an AMEN to that!

Its not that you CAN'T write a Utopia. Or even that Utopian-esque novels don't exist. I just think that a TRUE utopia would be boring. It would require perfection across the board. Which--like you said--would lack some serious plot tension. Most attempts at utopia end up dystopian.

P.s. I love you and your Nincompoop-ness. It makes me happy ( :

Peggy: This is true! I didn't think about it from that light... but in order to have a TRUE utopia, everyone would have to have the same vision of what "Perfect" really is. Which, unless we all had a "hive mind," would be impossible. And since we are individuals, there are always going to be people who consider the utopia less-than-perfect. So that fact, BY ITS VERY NATURE, means that the story is NOT a utopia. If everything is not perfect for everyone... you no longer have a Utopia.

Excellent thoughts, deary!