Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Plot to Hang the Message On

Question of the Week: Is there a novel that you're afraid to write?

My Answer: No, but there a couple of novels that I have to write later, because they're still mulling and I'm not sure how to get them out into a story that's compelling to read.

The first is a thriller I've just trashed (OK, shelved) that has some themes I'm stoked to explore—intellectual supremacy, eugenics, a twisted female mentorship relationship (think Damages), all tied up into a fast-paced international thriller. But after working on this story for two years, I realized that I hadn't found its core. I was poking at it from several angles and hadn't really nailed the hook or the plot line. So I'm putting it away until it screams at me to reopen it. I'm pretty sure it will one day, but I'm also pretty sure that's not today.

The second is a novel that compels readers to take action against climate change. My fear is of writing a story that's too preachy or pessimistic, not entertaining or enjoyable to read. Right now, I think the most pressing, immediate problem the world faces is that the politicians and CEOs making important decisions on behalf of us voters aren't interested in reality. They're greedy and lining their pockets, and they listen to the voices that tell them they have nothing to worry about regarding fossil fuels. In my real life, I volunteer with a local group called Save Howe Sound, where we're currently fighting against LNG (liquefied natural gas that comes from fracking). I would love to bring this fight into fiction, and as quickly as possible, But I want to make this a compulsively addictive read, and I'm still searching for the right plot to hang the message on.


Paul D. Marks said...

Like you say, Robin, sometimes you just have to put something on the backburner until it's "ripe." Sooner or later it gels or it just sort of evaporates. Like Orson Welles said in some wine commercials a long, long time ago, "we will sell no wine before its time." I think it's the same with stories. They have to age and mature until they're ready for "prime time," so to speak.

Meredith Cole said...

Hope you'll write your climate change story sometime, Robin. It's such an important issue, and I'm sure you'll do a great job with it (when the time is right, of course).

Susan C Shea said...

Robin, you've hit on a problem that has stopped me from writing or reading a few times: Issues that are major but have been politicized to the point where writing becomes too much like arguing. These themes seem to do better in dystopian, alternative history, and sci fi than in other genres, I think, but even there, they can go over the top to rants pretty quickly! Good luck with yours and I promise to read it whenever!

RJ Harlick said...

Two great sounding possibilities, Robin. I hope to read them as books some day.