The Evolution of a Story (Part III): When


The following is an article from a six-part series that explores aspects of creating the storyline for the End of an Age quadrilogy (yes, that’s a made up word).

The story involving the two main characters, Alexia and Reuben, could have easily taken place in our contemporary time.  But I decided to move the storyline nearly one generation into the future.  There were several reasons for doing that.

Taking down technology was a major element, and our culture becomes more dependent upon it as time goes on.  As devastating as a coronal mass ejection would be today, it would be even more serious in the next decade and a half or so.  The worse things go, the better the story gets.

Basic humanity is always the same, but details about the culture change.  Although our society has plenty of problems today, those issues could be exacerbated in the future.  Again, worse is better.

Authors are very manipulative people.  Although the characters must act believably to keep the reader’s willingness to suspend disbelief intact, writers are control freaks.  Having the event happen in the future gave me control over details that I wouldn’t have the luxury to do in a contemporary setting.

There is also the timeline involved.  When it became obvious the story would need to cover several years (see Part II: What), moving it that far into the future allowed me time to finish the series before the actual dates rolled around.

But I also wanted to maintain a certain sense of immediacy and identification, which was why the events were placed only fifteen to twenty years from now instead of in the next century or later.

Next we move on to Where, and it turns out there’s a whole lot of that.

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