HOW TO INCLUDE GOVERNMENT AND POLICY
One thing that has to be evident in any novel is the sense of government and justice. We discussed before in CHARACTER CHARACTER how a character needs to have a sense of justice within. But there needs to be some type of governing body that dictates justice even outside of his personal conviction.
We are going to keep up with the falling bark premise from yesterday’s post LET THERE BE LIGHT. If trees are losing all their bark and the people’s only food supply is bark, then the people would be in an uproar trying to get to a consistent food source. The government or ruling officials know that they must provide for their people, and there has to be some type of structured distribution and regulation of any bark that’s salvaged.
This is an excellent place to build. Think of how the people would be infuriated with the government. You’d have people on both sides of the political fence yelling at each. One side agrees with the sanctions. The other side disagrees. And what if you didn’t have a democracy? That’s another thought. What if you went with a monarchy? Then you could have the King / Queen or the dictator determine who got what. But still there would be people on both sides: some agreeing while others disagreed.
Without government, it’s hard to create conflict because there aren’t any rules to follow. Even if you never talk about the government, it still affects your characters in some way. How many times have you been at a red light at 2AM, and you sat there for five minutes waiting for the light to change when there were no cars coming from either direction? You knew that there were no police officers around, but something inside of you made you wait. You were affected by the government. This should come out in your novel somehow. External justice is essential to move a plot forward.
It should be said that you do not necessarily need a government (i.e. a political body) to create rules. It could be a deity, natrual or supernatural force or chemical denpendence. Many things can setup rules which your protagonist must abide by.