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What If? and The End of the World

December 12, 2012

You’re probably sick of hearing about the end of the world.

With all of the zombie apocalypse love in the mainstream, you were probably sick of it long before the Mayan calendar hit the news hard. I was getting there. Not that there’s anything wrong with a good end of the world. But when it’s on everyone’s lips, it gets a little old. We need something different. End of the universe, maybe. End of…Hostess.

But god, isn’t this Mayan apocalypse stuff a great writing prompt?

Think about it. What if the end of the world had been prophesied a thousand years ago, and there was nothing anyone could do. No hero who has to slay a monstrous demon to protect future generations. No gem that needs to be replaced in its seat on the head of a staff before an angry god sends oceans of fire running over the land. No habitable planet to run to. Nowhere to go. On such a such date, everyone will die, end of story. What would that society be like? What would they strive towards as a people? What do they want to accomplish before they’re gone?

Or take it further. What if, like clockwork, 90% of the population died every calendar cycle (where the calendar is, say, two thousand years) and a new population must rise from the remainders. What would that society be like?

Or even, every five thousand years, the main sentient race of the planet is wiped out, and the next sentient race in line takes their place.

There are so many different directions you can take it.

That’s what I love about writing. Inspiration is everywhere. Our world is full of wonder. Scientific wonders are revealed every day. Great mysteries are unraveled, and new ones are born. Incredible people exist and make the news, or hide quietly in their villages in rural Turkey (or wherever). If you need a plot, start looking around. And then ask, “What if?”

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From → Inspiration

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