I’m always a bit in awe of people who write intricate, dark, depressing stories like The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. They do such a good job, but . . . they have to live inside that world in their heads for however long it takes to write the book.
I guess that’s why I prefer to write things with ultimately happy endings. I have a good real life, and I’m content, but in a story, I can stir up just a little trouble, just a little drama, and then resolve it all with cake and a brighter future ahead.
I wonder how many people set their stories in the Now. When I write these days, I studiously avoid plagues, invasions of insects, racism, floods, global warming and riots. They may creep in, but they are not what I set out to write.
But even before these wild days came upon us, I rarely wrote in the Now. I mostly wrote in the near future and far future, and a little bit in the distant past (80 years or more before Actual Writing Time). I am not sure why . . . maybe because I’m still processing the Now, and am not sure what to write about it. The distant past just needs a bit of research, and the future can be fudged. I don’t trust my perception of things enough to write about the Now.
But that’s me. I think people may want to read things about Now in the near future; they’ll have a basic set of reference, and can compare their experience with the author. They’ll have processed things. They might take joy in what the author got right, and they might have a sneaky bit of schadenfreude for what the author got wrong.
What is your Now like right now?
I saw a fun game on Twitter by Amber Sparks, who asked people what painting they would like to be magicked into right now. It’s a great thread, and probably very psychologically revealing about a person’s state of mind and their desires right now.
I really loved the picture of Weimar women drawn by Jeanne Mammen. Fun, sexy women playing with gender and having a good time between disasters.
I replied with the 1918 painting, A Merchant’s Wife’s Teatime by Boris Kustodiev. Good food, a nice kitty, lovely little luxuries on a beautiful day in what I’d guess is August, and a nice little town to explore when tea is over.
As a matter of fact, I was inspired to start a story from this picture about a space-merchant’s wife who was an ex-mercenary, now turned respectable. She’s taking the kids to see Papa on a distant planet, maybe to turn them over to him so she can get some trading of her own done. I think this was on one of Elizabeth’s Friday writing sprints. It’s a world I wouldn’t mind escaping into again.
How about you? What kind of world are you escaping into?