Archive for the ‘#news’ Tag

News Is My Larger   8 comments

Do you tackle current political turmoil in your stories or avoid it? Tell us why.


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Fiction Based in Hyperbolic Reality

I got the base idea under Transformation Project from news headlines in 2009. My daughter was bored on an Alaska road trip and asked me to collaborate with her on a story. We created a fun 24-like mess that wouldn’t have been a very good story. The central idea was Barack Obama’s campaign promise to fundamentally “transform” the United States. Bri and I REALLY changed the United States. About a bathroom break into the project, I started making notes because I sensed we had the seeds of something worth developing, but I was focused on trying to find an agent to take on the massive opus that was the original “The Willow Branch.”

After a major rewrite, I published the first book in Daermad Cycle entitled The Willow Branch and I needed another project to cleanse my author palate. I pulled out those notes and admitted it was a silly story that had a few nuggets of gold. One of those nuggets was Shane, another was Mike, and a third one was the Delaney family (which was part of Bri’s contribution to the story). Everything else needed to change.

When writing apocalyptic novels, you need to base them on reality to give them teeth. The best science fiction has a foot in fact. The news was the best source of reality I had. By 2014, there was plenty of evidence that the country was in trouble and if things continued the way they were something bad was going to happen. This was 2014, so Donald Trump wasn’t on anyone’s radar. I have to always remember that when I’m writing. I created a Ford-like president — someone with no electoral authority, but one with the ego to not care. I WISH I’d invented someone like Donald Trump, but I’m not going to jack with my readers by inserting him now. I did insert a Sarah Palin-like character, because I wanted her to finish her term as Governor of Alaska. I made her the Speaker of the House because Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House back then and giving inane speeches about her favorite word being “the Word.”

Those were the news nuggets that I used in Life As We Knew It to infuse some reality into my fiction. As I drafted the broad strokes of the series, I included some things I thought might happen based on what I saw in the news. For example, I accidentally predicted $30 trillion in national debt would trigger a frightening jump in inflation, riots for various reasons, as well as a flu that has some really bad side effects. Those weren’t major news stories in 2014, but there were enough minor incidents that it seemed possible these could develop into something major.

Currently, I’m writing “Corraling Liberty” as the story of the remnants of the United States trying to reconstitute. I’m drawing from news stories discussing “national divorce”, the invasion of our Southern border (with a twist), and other topics like eco-terrorism and wokism, censorship of speech, and abortion. I even took a story I read as part of my day job and put a cargo airship in the book. I take these topics and ask myself how these would be transformed by a nuclear disaster, an electromagnetic pulse, and a winter of starvation and sickness.

I borrow from the news because it’s kind of reality (hyperbolic reality) and that makes it easy to keep a foot in reality and that lends believability to my fiction.

Posted February 27, 2023 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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