[GUEST POST] William Petrocelli on The Challenges of Writing a Thriller Set in the Future (+ Giveaway)
William Petrocelli is the co-owner, with his wife Elaine, of the famed independent San Francisco Bay Area Book Passage bookstores. As a former Deputy Attorney General for the State of California and a poverty lawyer in Oakland, Petrocelli has long been an advocate for women’s rights. The Circle of Thirteen is his first novel. Visit WilliamPetrocelli.com for more information about the novel and Bill’s book tour, as well as essays, excerpts, reviews and a list of select independent bookstores to buy the book.
by William Petrocelli, author of The Circle of Thirteen (Turner Publishing, on-sale October 22, 2013)
Writing teachers say write with a strong sense of place. Little details can bring a story to life, and the historical setting can often place those details in the reader’s mind so that they don’t have to be spelled out. If the hero is “confronted by a man with a gun,” the context can fill in the picture. If the story is set in Tombstone 1881, Chicago 1927, or Berlin 1944, in your mind’s eye you’ll see a Western Sheriff, a Chicago mobster, or an agent of the Gestapo.
But what do San Francisco in 2056 or New York in 2082 look like? Writers of future-fiction don’t have to do much historical research, but they do something just as difficult: they have to create a historical context on the blank slate of a reader’s mind. The challenge is to merge your vision of the future with the visions of thousands of readers without jarring them to the point of distraction.
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