A line between fiction and reality

Before I threw myself headlong into other projects, I strongly considered going back and finishing my romance novel, known as FiA. But I have a rather significant concern surrounding that story, and haven’t quite been able to work on it.

In its simplest form, the setting for FiA is natural disaster stranding the two main characters together, where they fall into some kind of love (romance, after all!). In the time between birthing the full plot, and when I was going to return to working on FiA, a very similar event actually occurred in the location my book is set in.

It almost feels insensitive for me to write my novel about this location, and about this kind of disaster, when in somewhat recent times that place has gone through such a terrible experience. My feeling is borderline irrational; the location has seen other such disasters over time (as with many places on this fine planet, you get hot-spots for natural disasters, like Tornado Alley). It’s part of why I chose that location. The setting is realistic, the events plausible.

My handling of the event in FiA is befittingly serious. I don’t make light of suffering, but it’s also not the direct focus of the story, since it’s pretty much just the catalyst for the characters to be together. I hope that, given enough time, I’ll feel comfortable in writing this book again. I was really enjoying the experience, and the little that I got through taught me a lot.

I have the capacity to over-think my work to a degree I hadn’t realised beforehand. Writing FiA made me see that I could get just as caught up in my version of the real world as I can in fantasy (writing descriptions of a place I’ve only seen in photographs is wondrous!). I know I haven’t finished with this story, but I don’t know when I’ll go back to it, either.