Sun 19 October 2014

Using Current Events in Fiction Writing

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Self Publishing and tagged with Indie Authors


Too close to home or do you weave reality

terran chronicles universe blogMany writers enjoy weaving a moral story inside their works of fiction and fantasy. Real world events can often be the catalyst for amazing storylines, and their subsequent consequences. Sometimes the message conveyed is subtle, and missed. Other times the meaning to clear and obvious. In either case, once discovered, the effect on the reader can be quite profound.

When it comes to movies, the effect on the viewer can be even more pronounced. Of those who have watched Schindler's List, who fails to feel a sense of loss when the red robe is spotted in a roadside grave? And yet throughout out the movie hundreds, if not thousands, are killed.

There are many reasons why a writer would disguise moral issues inside works of fiction. First and foremost, the writer virtually absolves themselves from directly stating their views or opinions, on what may be sensitive topics. The most obvious trio is politics, sex, and religion.

Political messages can be found in numerous books and movies. The series MASH is replete with examples of the futility and waste of war. Star Trek .on the other hand is full of hope, and of good triumphing over evil. (Most of the time, anyway). My wife and I have been watching 'Game of Thrones' recently, and I wonder if its message is simply that we never know when our time will come.

Sexual messages often refer to equality, or the lack thereof. These last few years have seen a greater public awareness of same sex relationships, and the topic of same sex marriage and parenthood is most definitely a hot one. Writers that travel down this road pave themselves a lot of publicity, but often the negative kind. A great example of this is Orson Scott Card, who publicly decries same sex marriage, and, at times, uses his sci-fi writing fame as a platform to do so.

As for religion, I am not even going to go there. This is a territory that is filled with pitfalls. There are fifteen major religions, and literally hundreds of minor ones, each with their own interpretations of right and wrong.

If you are wondering as to whether or not I have weaved a moral story or two inside my series. Well, the answer is, yes! Space is a dangerous place, but with great risk can come great reward. I also want people to experience hope for humanity's future. Even when the direst of circumstances confront us, we as a species, have it within us to prevail. Another less subtle message is to not judge people by their appearance, or to prejudge an entire race due to the actions of a few of its members.

I will share another strange coincidental tidbit with you all in regarding to World events effecting me as a writer. Early in 2008, I was drafting a mid-sized story called Pandemic. The story began with the creation of a powerful biological weapon by a radical group of Muslims. This group travelled to Mexico where they infected numerous citizens, who then fled into America. It even included a massive Earthquake at Northridge, which distracted emergency crews from the real threat of this new disease. It also focused on the 34th G8 World summit in July of 2008, which was held in Tokyo, and the release of the Pathogen there as well. I was around four months into this story when H1N1 appeared on the world scene. I looked at the thousands of words that had been written and after a few months of procrastinating, shelved the book. To me, it was too close to home and reality, to continue.

It took me another year before I finally decided to tackle my real dream. Thus the Terran Chronicles Universe was born, or should I say resurrected from its many notes. I am glad that I shelved Pandemic, along with a dozen other stories that I had been dabbling with over the years. This sci-fi saga is my true passion, and hopefully my legacy to the youth of tomorrow.

Take it easy mates.

James Jackson