I know a load of writers who report that they start writing a work of fiction and then witness the events or themes of their novel happening in real life. How does this happen? Are they subconsciously picking up on something before it becomes obvious? It happened to me once, when I started writing a novel about a fictional riot and a couple of months into the writing process, riots started to break out in cities across England.
Well, how about this: I started writing a story about penguins last week and... wow, it's snowing! I guess, it is winter, so no great surprises. However, this time the effect is working in reverse. The snow falling in real life has given me an idea for the story.
International readers may not understand the British relationship with snow. (Or, should that be the English relationship with snow?) We complain that winters aren't what they used to be. Then we get half an inch of the stuff dusting our gardens and suddenly the whole country is thrown into confusion. Traffic slews to a halt. Trains are stopped, planes grounded. This is followed by our annual round of self-examination, where we worry about how bad we are at coping with snow. Sounds pathetic? Don't be fooled, we love critical self examination just as much as we love to talk about the weather, so this is a win-win situation for us.
My question is - will the 'Starting to Write a Novel' class that I am supposed to be giving this evening be cancelled? Not if I can help it. Unless they close the college, or the roads become impassible, I'll be there. Hopefully I'll have some students. I'm really enjoying this course.