17 May 2020: Realism vs. Dramatics

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Hey! I hope these updates are interesting to read because the revision process is often a period of time when the author goes dark and there's no guarantee that the same readers will see what's been changed. By posting these updates, I hope to 1) keep you all posted on what I'm doing with Before Noon, and 2) give those of you who are intrigued, step-by-step insights into my revision process.

If you remember from my last post, one of my biggest complaints is that this story was a stumbling block for me into the world of writing. This means that while I learned a lot about writing from creating Before Noon, my process was still a lot of trial and error and posting on Wattpad to kickstart my inspiration. Starting out a sci-fi story meant that not only did I have to make up a convincing plot and the cast to play it, but I also needed to create a setting that strayed from reality and its rules.

Looking back, I was a young writer who was probably too into Hollywood-like explosions. While writing soft science fiction doesn't require me to prove every bit of science in the fiction, recent world events have made me want to align the hypothetical future of Before Noon more with the trajectory of the world.

With this story, I always wanted to send a message of how urgently the planet needs our attention before it becomes uninhabitable for us and many other species. After the record-breaking Australian bushfires in 2019-2020, I was inspired to rewrite this story to more eerily parallel real events (among other things I want to change that I'll talk about in another update). I think the more this is grounded in reality and hypothesis rather than ideas for dramatics (wouldn't you want to watch someone running from a big ball of fire?) the more people will take to the climate change message.

What am I doing then? For those of you who are familiar with the old story, you'll know that there is a "Doomsday" for which everyone is in various stages of processing. I never really got the chance to dig into what this entailed and what built up to such a disastrous day (and how a date was set). This was one of the points that I found to be lacking as a result of not really knowing how to world-build at the time and rushing it for the sake of the plot.

In this incarnation, I'm going to be introducing a few key milestones in human history leading up to this "Doomsday" and what the term actually means (details are still subject to change, depending on my research). There will have been a buildup of natural disasters leading up to this day and "Doomsday" is actually a rough estimate of when these disasters will rapidly escalate in destruction and effectively wipe out most of the human population. For example, in the main characters' base of Australia, the uncontrollable fires will have created extreme microclimates that cause suffocating heatwaves, destructive storms, and detrimental air quality that has been slowly killing the citizens.

After "Doomsday" was predicted and confirmed to be inevitable, the world governments convened and collectively decided to stop officially fighting against this fate, instead going into more of a palliative mode for their remaining citizens. But of course, most people believed that this date would be everyone's united last day on the planet and panicked. Despite the good intentions and the attempts to spread valid information, you can't phrase "we're screwed" nicely and the world descended into anarchical disarray after the Day of Giving Up.

I want to show more of the ugliness of this hypothetical future, so I'm going to incorporate some of the background information into what's happening in the setting. And as much as I loved the visual of death by fire, I decided it was just a very "IDGAF about reality" action movie image that distracts from my purpose of building up real and imagined anxieties. So, Melbourne's going to suffocate instead... a day before "Doomsday". And no one except the main character will know everyone's preparation is behind schedule because the world has become a huge mess by then.

The next thing I want to talk about is my characters and I already have a clear plan for this aspect. I'm excited about this one because I'm going to make some big changes that I'll like. So, hopefully I'll get to writing about it soon.

I hope this was readable and interesting because I'm so sleep-deprived, I can't tell. Let me know what you think in the comments!

-G

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