I'm in the home stretch of revising a mystery/thriller set in present-day Toronto.
In between pandemic-induced panic attacks, it occurred to me that COVID19 is going to fundamentally change the landscape for the kind of fiction I and countless others and writing.
So here's my question: How do you approach the pandemic in your manuscript?
1) Pretend it never happened, making your book a bit more of a fairy tale
2) Take a stab at guessing what things are like when it's over, even though no one can know?
3) Some other clever approach
Just don't plan to write a book about the pandemic, at least not for a while.
It's going to take some time for everyone to get past this when it's over.
If you need context: I still can't read books about 9/11, and that's 19 years gone.
I think I'm an outlier here, but I remember reading a novel about 9/11 that was pubbed in 2004, and thinking it was too soon then.
It's too soon because there hasn't been enough time to reflect deeply, and that's what you have to do with novels about cataclysmic events. And this sure qualifies.
BUT, if you're asking about how to reference it, rather than write about it, the answer is I have no idea, and no one else does either. Sweeping pronouncements about how this will change everything are premature. Do you recall the death knell for irony post 9/11? Yea, me too. And it lasted about 27 seconds.
So keep writing and we'll figure out how to deal with Current Events later.
If you want an example of something written in the midst of a world changing event, take a look at the movie Mrs. Miniver released in 1942. You can see how the story telling suffers for lack of an ending.
Bottom line: it's entirely ok to leave it out of your book right now.
Maybe this whole thing is a collective dream.