Sunday, March 08, 2015

What a wonderful app it would be!

An email from my sister on the 2nd of December last year provided the trigger for my latest storytelling project. It was the passing mention of a trivial item of family news. My niece, a Warrant Officer in the British Army Intelligence Corps, was on her way to Bahrain for a week of exercises. She had packed a swimsuit and was determined to enjoy weather far different from the winter now starting to chill us in Europe.

My opening scene was instantly clear in my mind… St. Nikolaus Day at poolside of a hotel in the fictitious Emirate al Markaziyah. I began a new document, entered a working title and, with improbable ambition, claimed that the finished novel would be published in March 2015!

It was inevitably going to be very different from anything I have written before. The action moves from the sunny Gulf back to cold Germany, Switzerland and England. For once there is no subtle advocacy of social nudism, gymnosophy or heliotherapy! In this case the sub-text is less frivolous. The three months of writing have also been months during which the real-time headlines have described a world dangerous in ways which appear to leave the politicians and the intelligence community on the back foot. This helplessness finds its indirect reflection in my narrative.

Not that I have wallowed in trendy dystopianism. A contrasting leitmotif references books written for children in the early twentieth-century, portraying a world very different from the one we have inherited. “Swallows and Amazons”, “Biggles” and “The Prisoner of Zenda” on the one hand, Dai’esh, Boko Haram and Wikileaks on the other.

There is joyous mockery of pseudo-academic techno-babble, there are driverless cars and a reclusive arch-villain too! I had plenty of fun during the short, dark day of the winter season.

Somewhat to my surprise I completed the first draft last week, meeting the deadline I whimsically imagined back in early December. In a first edit, glaring plotting inconsistencies have been corrected, adverbs culled (although in moderation) and 'weasel words' (a recurring embarrassment) purged.

I imagined the app illustrated above!

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