Writing Post-Apocalyptic Stories

I mentioned a while ago that I was getting another Masters. This time in Publishing: Digital and Print. Well, last week was finals. I had four and it was murder. That’s the reason I only posted one time last week. Finals are over and I am never taking four classes again. I must have lost my mind.  Update: I’m finished with school. I got my masters!


In the post Writing Apocalyptic Stories, I briefly talked about the rebuild process. Let’s go into that a bit more. The second book in my series is sort of post-apocalyptic. I’ve been struggling with how to realistically portray people living in this world. Here are some things to remember while writing your post-apocalyptic story.

Nothing is being made 
I wouldn’t say nothing. But, there are no more power plants, no more factories. If people don’t know how to make it with things they find laying around, it won’t get made. Things will run out. No more metals, plastics, medicines or grocery stores. If your characters want clothes, they gotta make it themselves. Here’s an infographic I shared before to help you with this. 

You can’t live off paper anymore. Money will be useless. Instead of exchanging paper for food and supplies, people will exchange goods for goods. 
People are Insane
In a world with no law enforcement, people will be…well insane. Some will turn to a life of crime because they can or because they have to. Read Black Feathers to see how people react to the end of the world. 

Your characters will need some way to defend themselves. Even if they raided a gun store while the world was falling apart, those bullets will run out. They will need to make their own weapons. 
Safe Haven 
Your characters need a safe place to live. Where is it? Why is it safe? How do they live? Is this permanent or are they still looking for a better place to stay?

Where your safe haven is located is important. It is close to water? It should be. If not, why? If it is located in the middle of the forest, your characters can chop down trees for wood, go hunting, find berries and herbs. If they’re in like some warehouse, they may not have access to a forest, but they may have more tools. 

Just because the big event is over doesn’t mean the danger is. The safe haven could merely provide sanctuary from the elements. The people there could be mean. Your characters may have to watch their backs all the time. Or, the air outside could be toxic and people have to go out wearing special suits. Or, there could be monsters lurking about. 

There is no way your characters will live in a safe haven and be allowed to do nothing. They will have a job. They will do something to make sure this community keeps functioning. 


As the creator of this world, you should brush up on your herbs. People will get sick and more than likely, there will be no pharmacy for your character to raid.  They’ll have to go to the earth for medical remedies.

Other Communities
Your safe haven won’t have everything you characters need. But, other communities might have some useful things. What are these communities? What’s the danger in visiting them? How do your characters find out about them? In Book 2 of my Merging Worlds Trilogy, each community specializes in making something whether it is growing vegetables, making herbal remedies or fabrics even paper. They have people who act as traders between each of these communities.

More tips:
Shalini Bolan: Writing Post-Apocalyptic Fiction – My Top 10 Tip

The Warrior Muse: Things to Remember When Writing Post-Apocalyptic
TV Shows
        If you have Netflix, check out The Colony. It gave me a lot to think about.