I’d Vote for That
By Cait Collins
I do not consider it professional to use my social media sites or this blog to express my political views. Politics, in my experience, is an in-your-face dirty business. That said politicians, their missteps, and political events are perfect fodder for writers. Likewise, current events and the news makers work extremely well into our stories.
The LAW and ORDER franchises capitalized on major news and political events. However, the producers were careful to create characters that resembled the newsmakers but were different enough to be fictional. Video and audio disclaimers let viewers know the characters and events were make-believe. Yet the writers skillfully developed the episodes around reality. The audience was forced to examine their own beliefs and morals and decide the guilt or innocence based on the evidence and the law.
Tom Clancy was the master of the techno thriller with The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger. Barry Eisler created political assassin John Rain. While one would think Rain would be a detestable character, he could be very likable. Unless, that is, you happen to be the bad guy. We can even go back to ancient times for heroes like Julius Caesar, the 300 Spartans, and Alexander the Great.
The use of the news and politics is not limited to drama. Saturday Night Live, The Cobert Report, and the late night talk shows are geniuses at satire. The point is, no matter how much we rave at the news and our politicians, we still buy the books and tune into TV and the movies. A smart writer will pay attention to the major news stations. We need our current events fixes to create characters and situations. We also need to stand in line with the voters on Election Day. Talk about characters! A writer might get some of his best lines by listening to voters as they wait to cast their ballots.