Today came as something of a relief. I have not succeeded, due to a number of distractions and research requirements, in progressing any further with the chapter outlines for We Are Watching, but last night I found myself telling my parents all about it — what I had so far, where I hoped it would go, why I wanted to write it and so on — and the simple act of speaking it, of hearing the story in outline form, rekindled the flame. With this kind of novel, there can be a tendency for it to sound a little silly in an unplanned oral presentation. But it stood up remarkably well. My parents, who are the perfect critics (direct and, yet, well aware that the novel will have a stronger plot foundation than a spoken outline) got it right away. A very productive conversation.
It also helped me see where I didn’t want to go with the story. In many respects, it is an allegory for the current surveillance situation in the UK — but I saw quite quickly that it is fairly vital that it remain an allegory. I do not want becoming a “government conspiracy” novel involving databases etc. All of that will be there, but as a subtext.
On the subject of government and databases, I today read with a mix of relief and scepticism that no decision on the giant database — intended to contain details of all phone calls, emails and Internet use — has yet been taken. More debate has been called for. Whilst reading this article, however, a piece of advice within it struck me as one worth repeating. It’s something many of us will have been aware of for a very long time, but it never does any harm to be reminded of such things.
“There will be more people look at your internet information than look at a postcard when you write it…”
Take care out there 😉