August 4 – Wrecking my House

One of the thoughts I had last month was that I should make my blogs more topical, and I realized that I haven’t been doing that. So today I’m going to try to put my thoughts down on a specific subject: Death and Destruction.

I’m not talking about the current political climate, although that was also a tempting subject. What I want to discuss is the Apocalypse. You know, the way the world is going to be if the Republicans keep leading us down their road to ruin.

My first story was about how a demon invasion caused the end of the world, and how a group of people fought to bring it back from the brink using magic (and a few dragons). My current short story project is set in that world, post-apocalypse, with a young woman being hunted by a demon. To write this story, I have to imagine how the world would look twenty years after The End.

There are a lot of resources you can use to help you if you want to write a post-apocalyptic story. Movies like Mad Max, The Road, The Book of Eli, and Terminator: Salvation. Other books, like S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse series. (I’m drawing a blank on other post-apocalypse books right now. Please leave a comment if you can think of any). Essentially, the trick is to take a modern setting and apply a thick helping of the law of entropy.

In my case, I am using my current workplace as the setting. It is familiar to me, so I can include a lot of details about the building. For example, I know that the building is six floors, with a mechanical penthouse on the roof. I have been everywhere in the building, including the penthouse, because I was part of the construction project and have had more access to the space than any of my co-workers.

The building is a basic concrete and glass brick, with stairwells on each end and one in the middle. There are four passenger elevators in the middle, and one freight elevator on one side. A loading dock in the back gives access for deliveries, and the front entrance corridor extends through the building to the employee entrance on the back. A parking lot surrounds the entire building, with a marsh on the north and east sides.

The first thing I did was break most of the glass on the outside of the building. I left several cars in the parking lot, but they have been left alone so long all their tires are flat and they are starting to rust away. Any exposed wood in the interior has started to rot, and all the cloth from the chairs and cubicle panels are moldy and tattered. Dust and dirt is everywhere, and vegetation has started to reclaim the parking lot.

The people are different too. The society has devolved into a hunter-gatherer system. More of a tribal civilization, where people have to work together in order to survive. Electrical appliances are rare and treasured. Most batteries are dead, so electrical appliances are run by hand cranks or generators. Ammunition is also precious, and hunting is done by bow, spear, and knife.

So that’s my take on working in a post-apocalyptic world. Your ideas may differ, depending on the cause and extent of your apocalypse. I hope these ideas spark some of your own. See you next week!


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Filed under The Writing Experience

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