Enjoying Your Own Company
As I write this post, the UK’s under strict lockdown with people only allowed out for essential reasons. Some people will be spending more time with their families and roommates than they ever wanted to, but a good number of people will be spending the majority of their time alone. For some, that means they’re learning (or trying) to enjoy their own company for an extended period of time.
Lily, the main character in my latest novel Such Crooked Wood, is a woman who spends a lot of time alone. Part of it is down to her job - she works alone refurbishing and upcycling furniture - but it’s also because she feels safer when she’s alone. Lily would be one of those people fairly content in lockdown, at least with the way she is at the beginning of the novel.
For writers, a sort of unwanted extra of characterisation has been developed by this coronavirus outbreak. A few months ago, you wouldn’t have seriously considered how your characters would cope with a lockdown situation. Sure, you might’ve wondered how they’d react to a terrorist incident or a natural disaster because those are tangible threats we’re all unfortunately aware of now. But social distancing due to a deadly virus? That’s something new.
My fellow author A.E. Radley has been musing on her blog about the Covid-19 elephant in the room and whether she should mention it in her upcoming releases. I understand where she’s coming from - the world’s not going to look the same and perhaps not mentioning it will feel more bizarre six months or a year down the line.
As things stand, it’s not something I’m debating, but that’s only because the projects I’ve got in the pipeline have already been drafted and/or planned out. The earliest I’d likely consider mentioning it in a full length work is November when I take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and no one knows what the world will be like in six months.
I write novels about women in complex situations. Coronavirus definitely fits into that category, but whether I want to address it is still up for debate. Let’s see what the future brings.