Writing for a Generation: Exploring a Sense of Responsibility as a Young Adult Writing Young Adult Fiction

Welch, Megan Clare
Johnson, Mike
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Master of Creative Writing
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Auckland University of Technology

The thesis Generation Omega is a dystopian Young Adult (YA) fiction novel wherein the majority of the world’s youth only live to age twenty-five. Deemed to be inherently volatile, this so-called Omega Generation is isolated from society in a bid to prevent anarchy. At age 18, each Omega is given a choice – stay home on the Mainland under surveillance, and be used as test subjects in the endeavour to find a cure, or leave everything behind to be shipped off to one of the abandoned cities called outposts.

The story follows nineteen-year-old Zoe, who has always struggled to fit in with her peers due to being accelerated at school. Her parents are scientists researching a cure for the Omega condition, while her brother Jake left three years ago to live on an outpost. When she becomes the first Omega to be successfully cured of her condition, Zoe’s life is turned upside down. However, fearing that the central government, the World Council, will not move fast enough to ensure that the cure is distributed to the outposts, Zoe takes matters into her own hands. Stealing a prototype of the cure, she runs away to the outpost that was once Auckland in search of her brother.

There, she encounters the City and Shore clans who inhabit the outpost, and forms a close bond with City member Kai who aids her in her search. However, the outpost is on the brink of uncertain times brought about by the sudden death of Cara, the late City clan leader. Tensions rise, stirred by the new leader Aiden, one of Kai’s closest friends. As Kai’s relationship with Zoe deepens, relationships with his friends become strained. Rose, who has a close connection with Kai, is suspicious of Zoe’s behaviour, and Aiden, consumed with finding the perpetrator of the supposed murder will go to any lengths to achieve his goal. Struggling to fly under the radar, Zoe’s plans are derailed by a violent clash between clans and an emotional conflict with Kai, who believes her to be just another Omega. On the quest to find her brother, Zoe must not only decide the path she must take, but also how she can embrace her uncertain future.

Unknown to the rest of the outpost, ErikCo, the corporation that runs Zoe’s parents’ lab is also moving in the shadows. As distribution of a treatment to the outposts would hinder mass production, the corporation aims to sway the World Council to overrule Article 50, which ensures the equal rights of Omega on the Mainland and the outposts with regards to accessing a cure. To achieve this, the ErikCo plants an agent on the Auckland outpost to bring about chaos, demonstrating to the world that the outpost Omega are too dangerous to reintegrate into society. As the ensuing conflict between clans comes to a head, the protagonists must remember their real enemies lie not in the faces of their fellow Omega, but back in the bureaucracy of the Mainland.

In the exegesis Writing for a Generation, I look at how writing for a specific genre influenced the formation of my creative work. This includes exploration of the history and underlying themes of YA literature, in addition to the evolution of teen fiction into the multidimensional genre it is today. I also reflect on my specific experience as a young adult writing YA fiction, as well as my goals for Generation Omega. The exegesis will expand on a number of stylistic and narrative choices I made in the planning and writing of the novel, as well as the motivations behind them. Lastly, Writing for a Generation will touch upon how the Generation Omega changed over the course of its development, and the effect of these changes on the final creative work.

[NOTE: The novel "Generation Omega", will be available after November 26, 2022]

Young adult fiction , Dystopian fiction , YA fiction , Young adult author , Dystopia
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