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Date Posted: 16:03:54 08/26/20 Wed
Author: River Acheron
Subject: Writing in the COVID-19 era (E)
Life imitates art. But art also imitates life. Horror and sci-fi movies from the 1950's depicted mutations and nuclear horrors, which was appropriate considering that these movies came out during the atomic age. Many horror movies from the 1970's depicted Satanism (The Omen, The Exorcist, Satan's School For Girls, Warlock Moon, The Devil's Rain, The Blood on Satan's Claw, just to name a few), this came about due to the rise of occultism, evangelical fear, and public figures such as Anton LaVey popularizing Satanism in the mainstream. All of this, of course, led to "stranger danger" and "satanic panic" in the early 1980's...this fear that a terrifying, unknown evil could be lurking right around the corner. And what kind of entertainment did we get in the early 80's? The rise of the slasher movie, where faceless killers lurked in neighborhoods, high schools, and campgrounds. Our writing is directly influenced by the zeitgeist of the era. It's unavoidable really. In 2020, as the Coronavirus literally changed the way of life for all of us, our fiction will no doubt be transformed as well. My question is....how will you implement it?
Already, it has been announced that the sitcom, The Conners (The Roseanne spinoff) next season will focus heavily on how the pandemic affected the main characters, Curb Your Enthusiasm will also implement a COVID plotline, according to Larry David. In a way, if you write fiction that takes place in our world at our time, you kind of have to make mention of it. To do otherwise would place your story in an alternate reality. That is not to say that one must write a COVID plotline, or focus heavily on the pandemic itself of course. But as writers, should we not at least acknowledge that this is the world we live in. For the sake of realism, you can't have your characters go to an indoor restaurant for example. This is obviously not an issue if your story is a period piece, or some kind of alternate universe thing, but if your story takes place in this current era and world, then my question is, how much of COVID will you implement in your stories? I can see how this may be difficult for those of you with long running series that have lasted years. Maybe a casual mention of your character putting on a mask when entering a store? Or would go full-on and maybe have a character actually contract the virus?
None of this is, of course, meant to trivialize or capitalize on what is of course a very real and very serious problem in this world, but to not mention it at all would be less than realistic, would it not? For me personally, it has not been an issue since HOMETOWN takes place in 2013, but for my next story in the saga (HOMETOWN 3 or whatever it will end up being called), I was thinking of doing a time-jump. This was an idea I had even before the pandemic hit. So now, I'm not sure exactly how I want to handle things. It also depends on what happens with the pandemic over the next few months or years. These are uncertain times, and as such, it kinda makes our writing uncertain as well, doesn't it?
This month, my question is a simple one. How will you implement COVID in your fiction, if at all?
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