Deepening Social and Political Conflict in your Fiction
In many speculative fiction works, war or civil unrest is common, sometimes it’s a given. And yet so often, these grand, world-shattering wars are shallow when looked at straight-on. If you think about the history of the conflict or the spark that sent the nations to war, you can come up kind of dry. A lot of readers are tired of “WAR” being the default backdrop of a story, especially when it’s used as a prop rather than handled with the care it should be.
So how do you make sure that your social and political conflicts don’t just provide a canvas to your story, but help deepen and strengthen the world and the characters therein? Simple! Just do a little thinking!
What are they fighting over/why are they fighting?
Misconceptions or misunderstanding
Political or social ideologies
Who is the root of the conflict between?
Nation & Nation
Government & People
Two factions of people
Parts of the same government
Government & Church/Religious group
Church & People
Government & Private institution
Or does it span numerous groups?
How has it spread?
How long has this conflict been going on?
What was the origin point of this disagreement?
How quickly have things escalated?
How has magic or technology figured into the conflict as it is and as it’s developed?
What has motivated the continuation of this fighting?
What level of devastation have the people dealt with?
What is the military structure of the two sides?
How much do your characters know and understand about the history or reasons surrounding the war? How does that influence their feelings toward it?
Are there outside influences that are escalating the situation by getting involved? Perhaps manipulating or aiding one side?
What event triggered the initial conflict? The war (if they’re two separate things)?
Do the people remember what started the war, or has too much time passed?
How has the constant presence of war altered the society and culture?
How much fear is present in the day-to-day life of the citizens?
How do parents handle the knowledge that their children will undoubtedly go off to war at X age?
How has the family structure changed with the constant absence of soldiers?
Does lineage play any part in how likely a child is to be recruited or what level they start at?
How hardened have people come to war and death?
When does soldier training start for children? Is there a gender divide on who fights and who doesn’t? How is “fitness” determined for combat?
Has there been any tries at peace between the warring factions? How were they handled? Why did they fail?
Have art, literature, music etc. survived the enduring war? How has the umbrella of unrest affected the arts?
What do the people believe this war is trying to accomplish? Or do they accept it as a part of life that will likely never go away?
How do people cope with the upheaval of their lives?
How are soldiers selected and trained?
How informed are the general citizens?
How in-danger are the non-combatant people?
Are emotions running rampant, or are they in check? Or is ignorance bliss for most people?
How quickly did the inciting incident lead to the full-on war?
How well- or ill-tempered are the leaders of the sides and how does that contribute to the way the delegations, exchanges, and treaties are handled?
Are the people of the general public on board with going to war, or are they angry about their leaders’ involvement?
How well-documented and reported are the goings-on at the front lines/in governmental offices?
Why are the people unhappy or unsettled?
What groups are trying to resolve the issues or help the needy during the fragile times?
What are the opposing sides/ideas trying to accomplish and how are they balanced over discontentment rather than heading straight to war?
How much pressure is there to start an uprising?
Has the disagreement between some groups brought unity to others?
Is the unrest more mental and political, or are there mobs rioting in the streets?
Are there rumors (true or not) circulating that are adding to the tension?
Is there a press involved? How are their reportings affecting the people? How are they viewed by the ones in power?
How long has this unrest been present? Do people think that it will eventually lead to a revolution or war…or are they just resigned to the way things are?
So somebody asked me if my dragon characters were in The Aviary what species would they all be. None of them ended up being Ocos cause they are the fill in species for humans in this hypothetical sinario
Sudan has for years suffered through civil wars and political unrest, costing the lives of millions of people. Its President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Syria, meanwhile, has been involved in a bloody civil war for several years, pitting the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad against a variety of groups, including the radical Islamic State.
I always find it amusing when people forget that Thedas is in a semi-constant state of: Apocalyptic Event Begins [Archdemon awakens, blight starts]–> Apocalypse [Blight, which traditionally last several decades]–> Post-Apocalyptic Event [Archdemon is slain, horde is broken but survivors are dealing with retreating ‘spawn, resource scarcity, population depletion, political instability, civil unrest, and widespread illness is the norm]–> Post-Apocalyptic Rest Period [lasts maybe 4-5 decades appearantly, giving the people of Thedas barely enough time to readjust to the new ecosystem’s balance, let alone to the new structure of what’s left of the world as they knew it if it’s even the same generation as started]–> Apocalyptic Event Begins [Archdemon awakens, blight starts]
Even Bioware, after having set this situation up, seems to have forgotten that this is the situation they created. Like they canonically say the Anderfelds were so tainted by the presence of the Darkspawn blight for so long that not even bacteria can exist there, hundreds of years later, to decompose things. Meaning they’ve [Bioware] set up a world where this just continues till they run out of giant taintable lizards. Meaning, sans the Warden in Origins, they’ve had decades to scorch the land with rot and disease. Thedas could look a whole manner of different ways because of the Darkspawn because they could literally have rotted whole swathes through the continent. It’s all but stated they’ve been everywhere. You do manage to go somewhere you’ve never been and Maker/Creators/Spirits be with you– may you not trip over an Archdemon that might just have felt like biding it’s time and amassing an army off in the distance somewhere till it has enough little nasties to blot out the sun with arrows.
My point is, Thedas since the Blights started has been doomed– not because they don’t have people to fight these monsters. Not because they’ll kill each other, or because of mages verses templars, or anything like that. No, because the Blight’s going to rip Thedas out from under every single person living there by destroying every ounce of the environment in Thedas.
Gonna go ahead and talk about my AU idea I’ve been thinking about for months because I plan to write and draw a lot for it when I’m free.
Imagine Mika was the Avatar and hes mainly a waterbender. The nations, particularly his, go to war with each other but he knows he can’t really do much with only waterbending as his skill so he leaves his country to find Masters of the remaining elements to teach him.
Mika ends up meeting Yuu, an athlete skilled at earthbending since he makes his living off fighting in earthbending rings. The two don’t get off on a good start since Yuu doubts Mika’s abilities at first, but after a while of talking, getting to know each other and traveling together, Yuu starts to soften up to Mika and finds himself confused about his feelings for the young Avatar.
During their time of traveling, they end up meeting a peaceful airbender named Yoichi, an intelligent nonbender named Kimizuki, a noble with lots of connections named Mitsuba, and the fire nation princess Shinoa.
All of them travel around the world together and help each other out. Namely helping Yoichi find sanctuary for all nearly extinct animals, the corruption Shinoa has to deal with from her family and her nation’s civil unrest, Mitsuba’s insecurities about her political position, finding Kimizuki’s lost sister, and helping Mika stop Ferid and his band of criminals from overthrowing the government.
Yuu, however, doesn’t have anything he deeply cares about. Not until he realizes what Mika means to him. His new purpose in life eventually is to protect Mika as much as he can, and maybe he even yearns for something more with the Avatar he thinks he isn’t worthy of.
Yuu is not aware though that he isn’t the only one sharing these feelings.
70′s-90′s: LGBT people of color marching on the streets, fighting and dying for us, organizing and resisting and creating organizations, protesting 70′s-90′s: the HIV/AIDS epidemic disproportionately targets LGBT people of color 70′s-90′s: times of political, civil, and social unrest, during which LGBT poc aligned themselves with leftist ideologies, resisted war and US imperialism, fought for working-class LGBT people some white wlw: here’s my 80′s sapphic moodboard with 0 (zero) women of color :)
Headcannon: team cap don't really use wanda's name but give her nick name like Sam calls her girlie, Clint calls her wands, and Steve calls her kid and Bucky notices and joins in and calls her something endearing and sweet in Russian and everyone is confused but Wanda blushes every time
OMFG ABSOLUTELY ok sam would 210% call her “sabrina” or something (sabrina the teenage witch hey hey hey) and he’d break out all the old tv references like every time she gets a nose itch he’ll ask if she’s gonna cast a spell on him (coz of bewitched hey hey hey) or maybe even ‘hermione’ but sam more than anyone would literally NEVER CALL HER BY HER ACTUAL NAME
And clint would call her wands yeah or magic wand or OR he really likes the movie ‘a fish called wanda’ so sometimes if he’s especially feeling the ~dad jokes vibez~ he’ll call her fishy
And steve calls her kid because she’s like a younger sister to him and it confused the heck out of bucky at first. One day after they met, he turns, asks Steve with this look on his face totally removed of expression, “you said she was a kid” and steve has to think about it before he says, “she’s twenty-three,” like he’s kind of surprised by his own answer, because she may be the youngest of them but her soul is one of the oldest.
Scott calls her witchy-woo heh heh
Now I thought about this a while bc I feel like Bucky would just call her wanda but I also think he would have some private term of endearment for her so
I 200% believe bucky would speak sokovian bc hydra had bases there and were instigating civil war and there was political unrest so I definitely headcanon that bucky would have been in the sokovian hydra base at one point or another (whether wanda was there are that point or not) soo you can apply this for sokovian but I’ll use this for Russian like you asked.
He started calling her ‘маленькая колдунья’ (little witch) for a long, long time, probably bc while they were kindred souls, their connection was tinged with hesitation and uncertainty, and they were constantly questioning how to define their relationship. It was not a friendship- it lacked the familiarity, the humour, the trust - but there was an understanding, a closeness, a hyper awareness. As they felt each other out and became more comfortable with each other, finding how often they really did spend time together, Bucky would start to absentmindedly refer to her when speaking to others as ‘моя лучшая девочка.’ They had no idea what it meant. Soon enough, without really thinking about it, he started to call her that more than ‘little witch.’ It meant ‘my best girl.’ A strange mix of Brooklyn slang and the language he’d spoken singularly for decades as the winter soldier.
he said it in russian because he spent so long with it as his default, and he’ll say to her or anyone who asks or himself it he doesn’t think to hard about it that its not like she speaks Russian anyway, but he knows of course that sokovia and Russia share a common dialect so she totally understands when he calls her his girl or sometimes ‘красивая колдунья’ (pretty witch) which is why her cheeks turned the most delicate shade of pale pink whenever he calls her that and seeing her all flustered is something that just fills him with so much irrational joy and hope look at this beautiful human life look at this beautiful girl how could she think she is anything less than everything look look look this is a memory I never want to forget, my best girl with her embarrassed smile and stumbling wit, please let me hold onto this.
(I did play around with more sophisticated nicknames- little sun, little fire, etc, but I feel like… Idk. They’re not fancy people, and words are not always their strong suits, and names as they are are so important to them. they’re about reclamation of self, reminders that they are not weapons. She says his name in his ear and he feels, maybe for a split second, that it belongs to him. They wouldn’t call each other anything fancy, just something small and quiet that distinctly belongs to the two of them).
I actually really love doing this guys send me all the headcanons and prompts pls pls pls
The perfect image summing up the entire relationship between these agitating slactivists versus the Police officers who are putting up with them nation wide.
Hate filled, misguided animosity versusstoic, disciplined, professionalism.
It may be tolerated under the circumstances to scream and curse at these fellow HUMAN BEINGS, but doing so certainly speaks volumes about what kind of a person you are, which is the antithesis of peace and equality minded.
The US government has operated multiple social media services around the world in hopes of providing a forum for debate and possibly political unrest. The programs, which operated in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, and dozens of other countries, were similar to ZunZuneo, a US-created social media service that had 40,000 users in Cuba at its peak. That program, which was secretly run out of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), was uncovered by the Associated Press earlier this month in an extensive report. At its peak, the text messaging-based service — which has been described as “Cuban Twitter” — had some 40,000 users. It abruptly shut down in 2012 after officials ran out of cash and failed to make the service self-sustainable.
The additional programs were revealed by officials in the Obama administration on Friday, according to The New York Times. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the social media services were run by the State Department, not USAID, and few details are available on the scope of the programs. The Pakistani program, called Humari Awaz (Our Voices), wasn’t run in secret: US officials worked with the Pakistani government and telecommunications companies in the country to promote it. However, it — as well as the program in Afghanistan — were shut down like ZunZuneo. Another program in Kenya, called Yes Youth Can, is still active and is being run by USAID, according to the report. The targets of dozens of other programs are unknown, but officials say there were plans to start services in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Both government agencies began running such programs after uprisings during the Arab Spring in 2010, which have been linked to the flow of information enabled by social media networks.
to the people going “stop doin that to uncle Bernie” (yikes what lmao??): the Black Lives Matter movement that continues to use Bernie Sander’s political platform to speak about the issues are doing exactly what needs to be done to these supposed ‘white allies’ that are about Black Lives in txt and soundbytes for press but go ghost or get aggravated and offended irl confronting racism and antiblackness. they all present the contradiction most antiblack people fail to see, how you about Black lives but cant understand how taking up a largely white liberal space lead on by Uncle white hope Sanders is crucial when you take consideration of the current political climate, social + civil unrest largely lead on by antiblack violence? in addition, these coordinated interruptions serve as a way to put these candidates on the spot and see how they react to racism as it happens right before their eyes, who’s side are they actually on? why are they spouting proBlack political rhetoric but get mad at politically active Black people doing what needs to be done?
Bald Eagle Feels Reputation Damaged By Current State Of Nation
CONNECTICUT—As America’s beloved national symbol in the face of a frightening political campaign and much civil unrest, a bald eagle commented recently on the reported crumbling of his reputation, sources confirmed.
“With America being in the state it’s in now, I just feel like I’ve lost that ‘oomf’ I used to have,” the eagle explained. “I mean, now the most that I come up is in “MURICA” memes posted by Trump supporters. How can I ever bounce back from this?”
Continued the eagle, “I would try to help, but I don’t have arms.”
The distraught bald eagle hopes America will be back to a nation of greatness in the near future.
“Our way of life here is about nine meals away from anarchy.” That’s a quote from retired Marine Colonel David Couvillon, who governed the Wasit province of Iraq during the US occupation and clearly a man who has never seen the Cracked office when our daily lunch of filet mignon and caviar is fifteen minutes late. His experiences in Iraq mean he knows a thing or two about modern political unrest and civil war, which makes that quote even more terrifying.
As you might’ve heard, there’s an election tomorrow (if you’re reading this day it’s coming out), and no matter what the outcome, a portion of the country is going to feel like they’ve had it stolen from them. Matt Bevins, the Governor of Kentucky, has already promised that, “blood will be shed” if Hillary wins and there’s no doubt real people are taking promises like these to heart.
So how likely is it that America falls into a second civil war? What would that look like?
That’s what we’re asking Cracked’s Robert Evans and Teresa Lee on this episode of The Cracked Podcast. They’ll explain to us that violent unrest on American soil is a lot more possible than you think and that it wouldn’t be North vs. South or Red vs. Blue, but a war fought on thousands of different sides.
You can’t expect for the ghetto youth to believe in the vote, when the politicians THEY or their parentsput in office in their city, has failed them. Not just one term, not just two terms but literally for an entire generation. And now, with a “black president” meaning nothing at all besides a bookmark in history, how can anyone expect the ghetto youth to have faith in the vote.
And the closer you see the situation in this country, where big money heavily control politics and the military is slowly being trained and conditioned to view the American people as the enemy,
mass surveillance, drone wars and the destabilization of other countries around the world.
as well as the fact that the richest 1 Percent To Own More Than Half Of The World’s Wealth By 2016 …how can anyone have hope or faith for this political system.