It’s a well-worn path in writing, with writers always thinking of the future.
The idea of a book, says Philip Pullman, is to imagine it, to imagine what you want to write about in the present, not to present it.
For writers, the idea of the novel is also a way of saying “this is where I want to end it”.
The aim is to create a story that’s not about events in the past but about what you’d like to write in the future, whether it’s the story of a love or marriage or a relationship.
It’s the journey that tells us about our characters, and about the place they are in their lives.
To begin writing, you need to understand the way we see the world, and how we think about it, says Mark Hamill.
“We think about how things look and sound and feel, and our minds are trained to respond to these.”
So how do you get that first sentence right?
That’s the real challenge.
It takes a lot of work.
And to get that sentence right, you have to learn to read and write in a way that allows you to focus on the present and not worry about what’s ahead.
To do that, you might want to consider some of the theories of writing that have been developed by cognitive linguist John Berger.
In particular, he argues that the “present tense” (or “the present”) is not an essential part of writing.
It may sound simple, but it’s important because it tells us what the writer wants to say, what the author wants to make clear.
“A novel is about a future you can imagine,” he says.
“But the future is only as clear as the writer can make it, and he doesn’t have to think about what the future would be like if the world had ended.”
In a world where you don’t have a future, there’s not much point writing a story about the future and you have no choice but to let your imagination run wild.
That means you have more freedom to explore the possibilities.
But there’s also a limit to how far you can stretch your imagination.
“I’m not trying to say that the future doesn’t exist, I’m just saying that the world you can think about in terms of the present tense is finite,” says Berger.
And he’s not talking about the things we see in the news; that’s the past tense.
What he’s talking about is the things you can’t think about because they’re beyond your imagination, beyond your ability to make sense of.
It means you’re not writing a novel but an epic poem.
You’re writing a book about something that’s beyond your experience, that you’re unable to comprehend, or that’s hard to grasp.
What if, for example, you had to write an epic novel set in the world of fantasy, but with a future in which the world would have ended anyway?
Or how about a novel set during a time when the world was on the verge of total chaos?
Or when the planet was destroyed?
What if the planet didn’t turn into a mushroom cloud and the universe exploded?
And what if you had no idea what would happen if the universe ended?
Those are the sorts of problems that writers will have, says Berger, and they’re what he calls “existential” problems.
“They’re problems that you can only solve by reading and thinking and writing,” he explains.
“You have to be able to imagine things, but not necessarily in the way you would think.”
You need to find the balance between what you can control, and what you’re able to control.
So Berger says that, in his experience, the ideal novelist is a writer who’s able to write and think about “the future in the real world” and “the past in the fictional world”.
For a writer, the real-world problem is what you describe as “the tension between what we want to describe as the present in the novel and the future in a story”.
That tension is the tension between the way a writer imagines what’s happening in the story and the way the world is actually going on.
And the problem is that for every novel, there are going to be writers who are able to create the tension.
They’re the ones who can write novels that are better than others at describing the world in a realistic way.
And that’s what makes it possible for them to be “good novelists”, says Berger; they’re able not only to tell a good story, but to tell it well.
This is why the real problem with writing a good novel is that you have “no idea” how it’s going to turn out.
So what happens when you try to imagine a world in which there’s no future?
You can’t tell what it’s like, says Christopher Tolkien.
You can imagine a future that is “unlike the present” but the writer doesn’t want to tell us what that future is like, because he’s