Avoiding the Problem of Outdated Storylines

The Gunners Trilogy has been my main project for years. Some of the themes and storylines started coming together a long time ago. I wrote an early draft of the Armin/Vanessa story over ten years ago, and thought about releasing it, but didn't.

Why not? Although I was (and still am) attached to the characters and storyline, I had a nagging concern about that early version of the story becoming "dated" too soon.

You probably all do this: You're looking for something to read. Maybe you're thumbing through your pile of to-read books, or reviewing someone's Goodreads list. Some titles are enticing, and make it to your hot picks list. But some that you once thought you wanted to read don't make the cut.

For me, a trigger for passing on a title is a main topic or setting that isn't fresh anymore: stories centered around the drama of a big world event from ten or twenty years ago, for example. It's not that the topic is unimportant, but it's harder for me to get excited about it. I've seen the news, watched the movie, listened to the experts break down the story ... not sure I want to invest a lot of time in the novel.

There's a window, of course. If the story is set 200 years ago, freshness isn't a problem. You're entering a historical era, and the characters and the plot lines will make the story. But something from, say, the late 1990s, or a Y2K story? I don't know. Maybe I'll read that later.

When the idea for Gunners came to me, it changed all of that. It allowed me to tell a version of the Armin/Vanessa story with no timeliness problem, because it's not centered around current events or current technology, or anything else that gets dated once the book has been sitting on the to-read shelf for a while. Gunners doesn't get dated, because the whole concept of timeframes and perspective is part of the adventure.

If you've read Gunners of the White Cliffs already, you know what I mean. If not, read it, and tell me if you agree.

The Gunners Trilogy, by Todd Woofenden