So I sat for a while today not writing, but thinking about something, and I haven't come up with a terribly good solution to the problem yet. Therefore, I decided to puke my thoughts out here, both to elicit suggestions and to spark something in my own brain by writing the argument down. So here goes.
A scene that happened in the first draft of this novel is, the main character has infiltrated the base camp of an army he's currently working against. The army is camping out in an ancient ruin, which in the world of this novel looks mostly like how NYC might look if humanity abandoned it for forty years (because reasons that I won't get into in detail here). A strategy meeting and pep talk is called for all soldiers to attend, which takes place in the tallest structure in the ruins, a former skyscraper missing most of its top floors. When the main character steps through the entrance to this skyscraper, he has a vivid out-of-body experience, in which he sees what could be a segment of someone's life back before this ruin was a ruin.
NOW: the question I'm struggling with is, why does he get the experience, and where does it come from? Originally I'd had it that there was an old device in the building somewhere (something like an iPhone, that can make recordings of image and sound) that had over time (through infusion of magical energy, which is a force that permeates a lot of this world and has strange effects on things) gained a sort of pseudo-soul, and hence was reaching out to people (this happens in a few other ways throughout the story, though generally more abstract than this). Qiitsneh, the main character, is fascinated by the old ruins of the world, and hence should be more sensitive to such things.
But I'm not sure I like it being a single device, for a few reasons. One is, I've had it such that Qiitsneh and other sensitive folks only experience these visions when they enter that particular building, and if it was just a device doing it that wouldn't be terribly logical (one would think, in that case, it would be something about the building itself). The other is, given that this building is the HQ of this army and has been for a week or two, how has the device not been found/smashed/relocated/whatever? Third is, how has the device remained intact all this time, through bad weather, animals, and so on?
But the one thing I do like about it being a single device is, I had it written that Qiitsneh finds the device after all the trouble is over, and he then carries it with him for the rest of the book. It became kind of a poetical tool, in that case.
So I'm waffling between two things: do the visions come from the building itself (I'm verging toward the wiring, for a kind of tongue-in-cheek reason, which is that when 'ghost hunters' go into old buildings with EMF detectors, stray currents in the old wiring makes said devices go haywire due to bad calibration, and this is often blamed on ghosts; also no one would mess with the wiring since it's buried in the walls), or do they come from a single device somewhere in the building's vicinity, and if so, what and where?