Writers are always told to “write what you know.” I worked for 30 years as a transportation planner, so I thought I should write a story set in that milieu. So far I have found that very hard to do.
About six years ago I started on a script idea set in a transportation planning office. Initially I called it The Thompson Proposal, but changed it to Traffic Collision. I got bogged down because I tried to come up with a good McGuffin before I came up with a good story.
I started a satirical story that I called Tom Swift and his Incredible Traffic Model. I have a draft done, but it just doesn’t work. I need to massively rewrite it. I can’t use the name Tom Swift in the title either.
This week I started to write a review of the book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – And Why We Believe Them Anyway. Most of my career was spent in forecasting and I found the book resonated with how I felt about the topic. It has been very hard to write. Maybe it is just that it is that I have to go back and think about the work I used to do before I retired. I want to check and double check everything I say, which takes time. Once I get on the Internet it is so easy to get distracted. Besides that, I can’t seem to find a way to say what I want to say. I’ve tried several different approaches, but none has worked so far. I think I’ll leave it for a time.
After I did The Abattoir Project: A Ken Walker Adventure, I decided I could use that as a template to write a transportation planning story. I made good progress on the outline this week. I need to fill in more details about the plot and the characters before I can start to write. This time I focussed on the story before I developed the background. I think I have enough plot ideas for several more stories. We’ll see how it goes.
I want the story to be a realistic portrayal of transportation planning, but part of me would like to throw in a murder mystery and gun fights. It is easier to catch reader’s attention if your protagonist is likely to be shot, than if he might get a stern talking to from his boss.
I want to get back to work on My Most Difficult Case now, so I’m not sure when I’ll get this story done.
Note 2015 May 20: I fixed a broken link.