Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Where I've gone from here, by Keren David

 Where do we go from here, asked Dawn Finch yesterday, and it was a good question. For those of us who write contemporary fiction -  do we include the pandemic in our thinking? Or do we jump from 2019 straight to some vague time in the future when things are normal again. Will there be a normal again?  As Dawn put it: Write your story. Let the story unfold just as it should. If it is a Pandemic story then there is a good chance that there may be even more of an appetite for them the further down the line we get. If it is not a Pandemic novel, don’t feel as if you have to change your whole plot to incorporate virus references. Just write the thing and if you need to add references later to ground the novel in a certain period, so be it.

Well, I have started writing a new book -  and it is very much not a pandemic story. It's in some ways an anti pandemic story. It's about parties and celebrations and shopping and social events. It's -  I hope -  fun and funny, and full of life -  yes, there are serious aspects, but they aren't about illness or epidemics or isolation. It's a blessed relief to be thinking about a world that can party again. 

And yet.

As I started to write, I realised that the framing of the story would somehow be easier if it were a post pandemic story. If the main character hadn't seen family members for months on end. If she were emerging from a period of lockdown...especially lockdown biscuit-munching. My story is 100% not about the pandemic, but somehow it had woven itself into the story anyway. That tends to be the case, I find with contemporary fiction. It sucks in the world around me, whether I like it or not.

So, the book I am writing is a post pandemic book. I have permission from my editor to touch on lockdown, without dwelling on it too much. So far it has made the writing easier. It has brought my main character Miri into focus, made her more real, given her a context. 

And of course, if it doesn't work...well, 2019 wasn't all that long ago. 

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