One of the challenges of writing political fiction in the modern world is that there are several incumbents alive and kicking, and whilst they may have the skin of a dozen rhinos they also might not be averse to seeking a bonus to their pension from you via the courts.
Hard to write them out of history when indeed they may be contributory to it. Current social and political history may in fact be the driver for your story. There are reams of books that are going to be regurgitating the hacking scandal, the banking collapse, Euro fall-out, Arab Spring. In fact I feel like I have given away my thoughts for about ten new books. Perhaps its far more fun in 2011 to write non-fiction because some of the shit going on at the moment couldn’t be made up.
Actually I can’t be arsed with non-fiction, not that I want to belittle the hundreds of journalists writing their memoirs right now, but I’m not going to do the homework. The problem with non-fiction is that it requires you to be informed and tell the truth. At least it’s one person version of the truth but I suppose it does require some basis in fact that’s beyond what’s on the news otherwise we could all write the book.
I’m much happier making stuff up, that only requires you to sound like you’re informed, which is a bit like being at work. Everyday I stand in front of customers presenting information which they could find themselves if they bothered to look. Just in case any of my customers are reading this…unlikely I know…but I am absolutely well informed and consequently you’re getting excellent value for money. That last comment was a joke designed to demonstrate my critical incite and wit.
Getting to the point, my question was about whether to reference some of our recent government members in recent years because largely they have contributed to events or perhaps better said, they have completely fucked up events and therefore created the mess that now clutters our lives. My character is defined by some of those occurrences so naturally I want to refer to the events that shaped him.
In my latest masterpiece of modern literature, I have decide to concede and reference these people, not because I want to use the book to ridicule their legacy but more because it would sound daft to say that we are living in the post-Joe-Bloggs era. Everyone knows that Joe Bloggs is a figment of the writer’s imagination. Using another name would either be farcical or you have to create a back story for your historic character so the reader understands the link. 20,000 words later you are back to the main point in the tale and nothing has happened.
It still made me feel bad, feeling like I was crossing the boundaries of fiction into the real world. My characters are always completely made up in order that they remain unique to my stories. By referencing a real person I believe I am artificially defining their personality. The references main generic rather than specific and perhaps it is useful to play with the readers own prejudice about the real people and consequently lead them up the garden path with it. For example, saying that a character was inspired by Thatcher leads the reader to assume they are a tough cookie who knows when their how to get things done. As the writer you have the power to undermine your character’s personality by suggesting that they aspire to be Thatcher but are really just a spineless wimp.
So the events depicted in this blog are complete fiction and any reference to characters alive or dead is purely coincidental. Make of it what you will.