Five ways to begin engaging in the prepper lifestyle in order to write from experience:
Learn the lingo. What is TEOTWAWKI or WROL or SHTF: the end of the world as we know it, without the rule of law, and shit hits the fan. If you can’t speak the language, you can’t communicate.
Experience shooting guns, living without connections to the grid, and working hard from dawn to dusk. If nothing else, you’ll get out from behind the keyboard. The experience of these activities (among others) is valuable knowledge for writing prepper novels. Preppers often have to fend off inquisitive family, friends and strangers when they are setting up rainwater recycling barrels or learning aquaponics in their backyard. Most of the time these are busy people doing one project after another. A prepper capitalizes on their baseline of knowledge and grows it by engaging in new interesting ventures continuously.
Talk about what will happen in your own neighborhood when the grocery stores are bare and you need food for your kids. How will you react when your neighbor asks for food for his five kids. When people everywhere are looking for food it will become dangerous. Put yourself in both pairs of shoes. Empathize. Talk over different scenarios with different people. Some preppers are highly militarized while others are more focused on the homesteading aspect. You’ll find all walks of life in the community these days. Even many so-called ‘closet preppers’ who don’t tell friends or family.
When the police can’t respond to all the calls, plan what you will do when civil unrest is rampant. Will you take your family and flee in the dark of night? Where? What will you do when you get there? What skills do you have to help you? Try it and experience the difficulties of bugging out with small children or obstinate teenagers who know everything. Put together a bag of items to help you on your way, it’s called a BOB or bug out bag (more of the lingo). Practice carrying it on your predetermined route at three in the morning heading out of town.
There are two perspectives to consider when building scenarios. First, will you prepare and plan for the worst hoping you never need to fall back on it. Second, decide to be a taker, robbing, stealing and leeching off those that did prepare. Remember there will be both kinds. Its not all about a happy world full of rainbows and unicorns after an economic collapse. Keep the world full of conflict in your writing.
Try to model your characters and your dialog toward the ideal environment to raise children and engage in honest business but make sure to add ‘bad guys’ or takers so the readers get an idea of what’s worth fighting for.