|(This is my word count as of this morning.)|
But what I haven’t discussed is what the novel is about. This is a book idea I’ve been kicking around for over a year, and NaNoWriMo gave me a good excuse to put some of my ideas on paper.
In a nutshell, this unnamed book is a cross between James Rawles’ Patriots and William R. Forstchen’s One Second After. It involves the effect of a financial collapse on a family originally from Los Angeles.
I’m over the ominous second week hump, a time many NaNoWriMo participants drop out for a number of reasons, including lack of time, lack of interest, and lack of belief that their plot is worth anything. Supposedly the third and fourth weeks are easier, because participants get into the swing of things and their novel begins to take shape and look better.
I’ve been prey to these same doubts and concerns and insecurities as anyone about what I’m writing, but I’ve plowed on just the same. (After all, it would be embarrassing to give up. What excuse could I give to you, my readers, if I dropped out?) And, just as predicted, as this second week comes to a close I’m emerging from the fog of doubt to realize that maybe, just maybe this plot may work.
Right now in my book, the euro just collapsed and Europe has descended into anarchy. The result in America was immediate and catastrophic, with massive numbers of people withdrawing their money from their banks, rioting in most of the big cities, and necessities such as groceries suddenly in short supply because transportation has been interrupted by the rioting. There is a cascading effect developing which will have horrible repercussions on society’s fragile hold on civility. These developments make writing easier, because I’m pounding out scene after scene of how my fictional family handles the crises.
I came down from my office this morning, shaking off the mental dust from the disturbing events taking place on the pages of my book. My day’s word count done but my mind was still clouded by the hypothetical events unfolding. Writing a novel really is like entering a different world, from which it can sometimes be difficult to emerge back into reality.
So as I walked over to the woodstove to warm myself, my husband turned to me and said, “Have you heard about the latest in Europe?” No kidding, that’s what he said.
He told me about how German’s chancellor Merkel is making a ruling to allow European nations to voluntarily exit the euro. Then I got online and saw the headline, "Eurocalypse is in full panic mode and Italy blowing up."
See? Sometimes it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Although my book is supposed to take place two or three years in the future, sometimes I wonder whether or not I’ll be able to stay ahead of reality as I flesh out the fantasy.
What was personally disturbing about my emotions this morning is the realization that, should the events in my book actually become reality, how unprepared we (as a nation) are to handle it. It’s not just that people don’t have adequate food and medical supplies stored up in the event of disruptions. It’s that people are not prepared to live without the secure, dependable conveniences we all taken for granted in America: JIT transportation, the value of our fiat currency, and possibly the most important thing: the trust we have with neighbors and strangers that we won’t get shot or mugged merely for walking down the street. It’s a scary scary world I’m writing about in this book, and I don’t want it to come true.
On a personal level, it also makes me realize how vulnerable our family is as well. A few minutes ago I asked my husband, “Should we buy more xyz?” [Fill in the blank with your favorite preparedness item.] He said, “Sure we should. Except we don’t have the money.”
Oh yeah. He’s right. Our business’s busy season is over. This is the time of year we drastically tighten our collective belts, so as much as I might want to buy more xyz, it ain’t gonna happen.
In the opening chapters of my novel, the characters are financially secure. But as events unravel, they act on a tip from an inside friend and withdraw their considerable savings from their bank before it goes under. Armed with this plethora of cash, my fictional characters decide to spend it on preparedness supplies. They converted their fiat money savings into tangible assets.
As I wrote this, I fully realizing most people don’t have that advantage of financial security and money in the bank. Most people are like us and live paycheck to paycheck. They don’t have a store of cash to convert into tangibles.
On the other hand, my book characters are dealing with world and national events that are pressing, immediate, and urgent. Whereas we, the ordinary citizen, still have time to get our preparedness affairs in order. The euro hasn't collapsed. America hasn't descended into wide-spread riots. We still have time to do the things we always talk about doing “someday.” We still have time to do things little by little, as money permits.
In other words, ordinary people can become as prepared as my fictional family if they get started now. But how many people actually will? Or will they keep their blinders on and assume no financial catastrophe can ever occur? Or do they talk about doing things “someday,” but deep down thinking “someday” will never happen, so what’s the rush?
I hope to God that what I’m writing truly is fiction, because I’d seriously hate to write a precursor of future events.