Saturday, 29 July 2017

Dropping the bomb

I'm in the middle of a load of edits for my current book (working title The Kindred) which is taking a while because I've, unusually for me, added to the original wordcount instead of reducing it. As it's gone from 75k to 117K, I'm also trying to knock it down while tidying it up and sorting my mistakes. The basic plot concerns the aftermath of a nuclear conflict which occurred in the mid 80s. It didn't really dawn on me until a fair way into the first draft that it could be connected to the world of Ascent in as much as nuclear war is featured in both books. For what it's worth, I've never seen them as connected. They share no characters, settings or situations other than the bomb dropping. Still, the connection has got me thinking about my fiction in a bigger picture sort of way.

All writers have themes and areas they return to whether they realise it or not while writing. I know what most of mine are and if someone pointed out one or two I haven't considered, that would be no surprise as a lot of the time, I don't think about what I'm writing. I just follow the characters. It's their story I'm telling. Saying all that, I'm well aware I've written more than once about the end of the world - or at least the potential of it. I really couldn't say why other than it gives me a lot of scope to play with and it can be quite fun to wipe everything clean and let those who survive see if they can keep going through whatever comes next. Ascent is definitely about the potential of the end of everything for the few characters trapped in Greenham Place (incidentally, the name of the office block was no accident), and not solely the end of the world. It's about the end of their world and everything they think they know. I suppose it's me saying don't take all the elements that comprise your life for granted because any one of them can be broken in two without warning. Because life is just that much fun.

On the other hand, The Kindred is more basic when it comes to an ending. I've stopped the twentieth century at some point in the middle of the 1980s and although ten years have passed by the time the story starts, it's still the mid 80s because there's nothing left in culture, politics or history to change and develop. The world I've made has ended but  - again supposing - that doesn't mean we end.

In any case, the two books aren't connected by plot or character but perhaps they take place in the same universe. I'll let you know when I know.


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