Writerly Things 4/20/2020: Should You Pass on Real-Life Events in Your Novel or Include Them to Display Realism in your Stories?
Do you add real-life events to your stories as you go along, and they occur or do you just skip as though they never happened? Once upon a time, as a young writer, I included 9/11 events in my book. I thought it would pull readers into the story more to view the events through the characters’ pov and who knows? It might have but that’s a book I set aside. I realized the whole series needed some work.
I’ve noticed in recent releases though, there’s a lot about viruses or self-isolating and it’s just weird to me. How could they have known? Did they write that in before they published? Do the events just shadow what we’re going through?
I remember as I wrote about 9/11, it helped me to grief through the feelings at the time after the fact. I’m not sure I would keep that scene in the book now though as it kind of slices through the storyline replacing it with a story behind the story. I wonder if authors who are writing these events now feel the same or as I mentioned they were just eerie coincidences that happened in their stories?
How about you? Have you included any COVID-19 references in your books? Was it before the plague happened or as an after-fact? Which do you as a reader find more effective? Do you like to have such instances included in a storyline or would you rather it be passed by?
I’ve seen on some blogs that a few authors are rewriting their books to include the virus, and some aren’t. Which camp would you prefer to be in? Do you think it will date the book?
Keeping Up to Date with History.
Perhaps you feel, it should be told because hey, it happened. A way to give the reader an insight to how things were. The problem, I see, personally is, we’re NOT through this yet. We don’t know what causes it, how it’s spread, even if they’ll be a cure for it. Without those facts, I wonder if the references could be done justice.
How can we explain something we simply don’t know enough about yet? It’d be like trying to predict the outcome of an ongoing war. You might get lucky and pick the winning side but what if you don’t? There are just too many variables to get wrong.
I Get it. It’s an Emotional Topic.
We’re all dealing with this on a daily basis. How could our characters not get a vibe off it too? But self-isolating for us, should be different for them. They may or may not live in the same world. Their environment might be completely different and therefore the same type of virus wouldn’t happen for them. Maybe they’re a pre-tech society. Maybe they’re set in the future. Each different perspective. Robots might take care of things in the future. That doesn’t mean humans wouldn’t be the disease, but they might come in less contact with one another. In the past, maybe the conditions weren’t right for this sort of happening.
So many choices. So many instances. Things could be ripe for a virus but what if they’re not? We could introduce threads that simply don’t work for the storyline. Maybe, if you’re in a future world of today, you could mention the virus in passing. Compare it to something happening in that world then. Like the death count was comparable to the COVID-19 Virus of 2020. Just a brief mention, but it gets the point across.
Where do you stand on the choices? Have a great week, take care, and God bless!