Thursday, 8 April 2021

The elephant in the Zoom by Keren David

 I’m at the planning stage of a few new books, and I’m coming up against a problem.  Yes. That problem. The pandemic.

For those of us who write contemporary fiction, it’s a real issue. Do we mention it? Do we pretend it never happened? Do we jump from life in 2019 to life in an imagined 2022, with a big blurry don't-mention-the-virus gap in between?

I really don’t know. And it is bothering me, because it is hard to imagine myself into the head of my characters without thinking how they would have reacted to a year of home-schooling, the possibility of older adults dying, and all the other important things that arise from everything that has happened.

If this was a war – surely we’d be including it in our books?  How can we ignore things like Zoom and home-schooling and masks in the classroom? For those of us who write YA all those cancelled exams change the whole architecture of the teenage years. 

I don’t know the answer to any of this. But as I work on my outlines, as I put my stories together, I’m thinking -  is this then, or now, or sometime in the future?  Are all my books going to be forever 2019?  What  do I do about the elephant in the Zoom? 


Penny Dolan said...

A good question. Keren.

One of the big issues may well be young people's belief in and response to any higher-level authority.

I do not think this feeling is aimed at individual people, eg their teachers etc but they are very sceptical about what "young people" are asked to do and why and the truth of all the announcements and promiuses they hear.

Anonymous said...

An agent I follow on Twitter warned aspiring authors NOT to send him any COVID-related thrillers because the idea was being done to death.

I think a little more time needs to elapse, to offer some perspective. It's a terrific idea - a 'missed' year - but as a reader I would only see a 'COVID' book as one jumping on a bandwagon to make a quick buck. And judging by your post, that's the last thing you're after.

Nick Garlick said...

I clicked the wrong field and posted as Anonymous by mistake. My apologies. It was me suggesting waiting a while.