By Shelt Garner
Oh, this pandemic. What to do. What to do. The novel I’m developing and writing is set just before the pandemic starts and the second book in the story ends just as the pandemic is about to strike the States in a big way.
There’s so much going on with this novel already, I find myself struggling to figure out how to thread the needle on the issue of dealing with the pandemic. In fact, one of the “benefits” of the pandemic from an artistic standpoint is it gives you a very definite delineation between “now” and “the before times.”
I often ask my sister who consumes a lot of pop art if she would want such art to acknowledge the presence of the pandemic going forward or not and she seems rather blase about it all. Or, put another way, I can’t gauge from her answer if I should put more or less reference to the pandemic in the novel I’m working on.
Given what’s going on with the novel, I think I almost have to address it as soon as possible. I have a very easy in for this discussion and, as such, I’m probably going to use it as an opportunity to talk about what people thought of the idea of a pandemic leading up to its arrival in the United States.
Originally, this novel was meant to be a rumination on the Trump Era about the time of the lead up to The Mueller Report, but development took too long, so I pushed the story forward a year. I don’t feel comfortable pushing the story forward ANOTHER year should development raise the issue of when its set again.
I have a clear time frame because of the pandemic — right before it struck and changed everything. It seems like an ideal time to establish the events of the two books will be taking place in.
But, again, I have no idea if audiences will want that or not. And, yet, this novel is meant to be very timely, so I don’t see how I can’t address the pandemic. And it makes a lot more sense to figure out how to make the novel both timely and timeless in the way it addresses current events.