About four years ago, I decided to take the concept of a story that I had started many years earlier and completely overhaul it. In the end, the two stories had pretty much nothing in common. What was once a space opera became a gritty dystopia, my brainwashed military heroine was now an undercover spy working for a non-government agency.
I’ve never put so much thought into world building without writing a draft. I was determined that I should know exactly what was going on in the world and how it got there. Matt can back me up on all the conversations we had, about how my timeline, taking place a hundred or so years in the future, was a bit of a stretch, but plausible.
Let me tell you a little bit about it:
“The US is largely controlled by corporate politicians – where they may have pretended not to in our time, a CEO/Senator is fairly common.
News is highly entertainment based, after the networks failed to reclaim journalism. Real news is a fairly small, underground thing. Sensationalism rules, which keeps the general public out of politics.
Prisons were privatized. Debtors prisons became legal as consumerism reigned unchecked and politicians stalled on a livable wage. So there are poor, upper middle class, and elite. Nominally, the government still functions the same, to placate people. However, since the FBI is government, funds were probably slashed. Real agencies of justice are privatized.”
One of my villain’s aims was to get the current president impeached so that he could install someone even weaker and pave the way to his own power.
There’s more to it than that, but it’s on a scrivener file rather than a notebook, so I don’t have it in front of me. But you get the idea. At the latest, I wrote this stuff down in late 2014. When I moved to Virginia, I put the story down in favor of something “easier” for that year’s NaNoWriMo.
Then 2016 and 2017 happened and I found myself really creeped out. I had based my ideas on “What if we keep going the same way we are now, and people like Trmp become more common?” I had NO IDEA that Trmp would literally run, and win, and journalists would be thrown under buses, and the FBI would be undermined, and, and, and. Not in our lifetime, not just five seconds after I wrote all that down.
As a writer with a fantastic imagination, don’t think it didn’t cross my mind that I accidentally conjured all of this. Matt assured me that it wasn’t possible, but maybe you can understand why I looked at writing with a little bit of a skeptical eye. I had other reasons for not writing, but part of me was seriously depressed that my bleak scenario for 100 years from now was smirking from the oval office.
Right now, I don’t have any ideas. I haven’t had any rabbit holes to chase in about a year, and I’m at peace with that. I miss writing though. I miss the process, the excitement as characters and worlds unfold in my brain, and I can’t type fast enough to keep up. So I’m opening my arms up to creativity again. Ideas, if you’re out there, come to me. I’m ready. But if you don’t mind, let’s keep it out of the headlines.