This week, Alida and Robert welcome best-selling author J Thorn to the Round Table to discuss post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction as part of our genre series.




How do you define Horror, Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian fiction? What are the differences in genre conventions? How does it prey on the fears of our society? What are the differences between a good and a great book in these genres? And how and where should you innovate?

Visit J Thorn at or check out his fiction at or his author services at

What we talked about:

Why did J shift from Horror to Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic fiction? (1:56)

What are the differences in genre conventions between Horror, Dystopian, and Post-Apocalyptic fiction? (6:10)

What is the difference between Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic? (9:25)

Why are readers drawn to Post-Apocalyptic versus Horror? (11:15)

Does Post-Apocalyptic fiction reflect current fears in society? (14:00)

Does the threat have to come from within? (16:58)

What is the difference between a good and a great book in Post-Apocalyptic fiction? Where do you innovate? (19:05)

How should you craft your “event”? And does it have to be on the page? (21:25)

What are the Dystopian themes? (23:08)

When should you innovate? And when should you stick close to the genre conventions? (24:35)

Inject what you know in order to create genre innovation! (27:55)

Where is the genre heading? (31:35)


Things we mentioned:

On Writing by Steven King
The Stand by Steven King
War of the Worlds
Monsters in America by W Scott Poole
Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
Save the Cat! By Blake Snyder
The Post-Apocalyptic Reader’s Guide by J Thorn (with the essay about the difference between Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian fiction)

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

Get Your FREE Guide to reVision

Join hundreds of Word Essential Writers to receive inspirational writing tips and advice.

Thanks for subscribing! Look for a confirmation email in your inbox.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This