N is for Nuclear War
Nuclear war – no explanation necessary. The variables are going to be the location, severity and the focus of your story – long-term or short-term survival, a journey, a conspiracy, government bunkers, clueless dude hitting the wrong button.
Scenario: There are many focuses you can choose from – start from the political grumblings and escalate, start on the day of the war, a few months/years after – each scenario is different and will appeal to different readers. For the sake of clarity, I’m going to go with option two – D-day.
Characters: Head honchos, scientists, families, military, community – the choices are endless but you’ll need to pick your main focus early on. You can mix it up a bit with alternating POVs, start with the big wigs and move onto military and eventually average Joe’s, or stick with one. Make them smart and likeable – your readers won’t want to be thinking ‘so I’d probably die, but this douche survived? Really?’.
Location: Your nuclear war with either be global (most likely) or localized (possible but you’ll need to examine the how and why more closely to make it believable). Government bunkers are also a fun option!
Stand-alone or series: Either works because you’re not going to be able to make this story end with flowers and butterflies (they got nuked, remember?!). Whichever you choose, you need to end it well, which is a challenge in a dead world.
On the Beach by Nevil Shute
Pages: 296 (paperback)
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Pages: 279 (paperback)
The classic apocalyptic novel that stunned the nation with its vivid portrayal of a small town's survival after nuclear holocaust devastates the country.