Wednesday 8 July 2020

Time line - then or now?

There has been a certain amount of discussion in writing circles about what people are doing about portraying 2020. Some are writing pandemic books, and I'm sure that there will be some interesting things emerging some time down the line, although it's not a route I personally plan to take. But then, I write escapist stuff.

Historical novelists don't have a problem, but those of us who write contemporary? Having begun a new WIP this week it has been very obvious to me that the things I am writing about now, and the events in the book I have just completed, simply couldn't happen at the moment.

So what's the choice, given that I'm not planning to start with a new genre - and I think readers are also looking for a bit of escapism in troubled times? Some are planning to adjust the clock a little, which means that there may well be a glut of books set in 2019. Another choice is writing in a sort of suspended present, a parallel universe with a version of 2020 that does not include a pandemic. It's a trope that has long been popular with writers, but in a much more overt way - stepping through a portal into somewhere, or sometime else - not just simply bypassing current reality.

I've not decided yet where I stand. But then, everything that is on the page comes out of the writer's imagination. It's a story. It doesn't have to be real.

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