Writing in the Twilight Zone

Or should that be ‘in the Upside Down’? Or ‘on Bizarro World’? In the Biff timeline or rather the Darkest timeline? Take your pick!

As every one of us adjusts to the strange twilight world we find ourselves in in 2020, so does a writer. Especially one who used to write speculative sci-fi.

The year’s been hard on that front. Fact caught up with fiction as reality mirrored imagination. It made this writer feel rather untethered.

In fact, I started to feel quite lost in my writing life altogether.

For the short stories I wrote last year, I would mix hope with warning. It’s my dual personality seeping through into my writing. Part of me wants to warn. The other part of me clings to hope at the same time.

At least my stories were always speculative and from my imagination. But as dystopian tropes suddenly became our lived reality, I felt oddly uneasy writing about the dangers of artificial intelligence and governments’ control of medication supplies. It no longer felt like I was merely speculating. It hit too close to home and these thoughts left me feeling troubled.

In my stories, the speculative warnings are there for a reason: they represent my hope that we have plenty of time before the world gets to the point where scary things start to happen.

But ‘plenty of time’ has turned into our present time. We are living inside our own dystopian tropes. They no longer stand for a fictional world we need to be warned against. It is too late for that.

Now we live it, my imagination feels blocked when it comes to speculative sci-fi. Because it is no longer speculative or fictional.

And so these last written short stories remain in the unpublished folder on my computer, probably never to leave it for its neighbouring ‘published’.

It made me look closely at my needs as a writer right now. And I need, like we all do, a distraction from this reality. In my personal life I find it by watching cosy (murder) mysteries on TV. Instantly, when I realised this, plenty of plot bunnies started running around in my head. I knew that meant something and I knew I had to do something with those ideas.

And so I’ve changed from focusing on speculative sci-fi and fantasy to cosy mystery writing. Quite a change! But so far, so good. Although it will be a while before I have anything for you to read.

But where to put my thoughts about our society, I wondered. I knew I still wanted to write about them.

Well… Hello, (prospective) Patrons! That’s where you come in!

Because instead of incorporating my beliefs and values into fiction, I will write them in a non-fictional way, through articles like this one.

So, instead of focusing too much on possible Doomsday science fiction, I hope to write honest pieces here, about my values that I hope will encourage empathy and compassion. I sincerely hope you will be able to relate to them.

Instead of trying to change the world – or rather future – through my fiction, I now understand I am better suited at writing about my beliefs in a more direct way, in the hopes that they resonate with you, my reader.

So tell me, how are you doing living with this strange, hopefully temporary, reality? Are you coping? Do you see a change in society? Do you fear things will remain the same or are you hopeful like me that we may learn from this era of sorrow? Tell me in the comments!

x Sandra


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