Story inspired by real events

by Chynna

Hi. I'm planning to add a tragic event in my story that is inspired by a real tragic event. I wanted to dedicate that to the victims of that certain event, but I'm not sure how to do it. Up to what extent should it be similar to the real event? Should I try to copy each and every detail, or only the important ones?

Since this will be a sensitive scene, I really do wanna give justice to how it will be written..


Response: You've got a real dilemma here, because while some people might think you're honouring the victims, others might think you're exploiting the tragedy.

Often, fiction explores recent tragic events by exploring the themes and issues they raise through similar but fictional accounts. Actual historical events are usually covered in fiction generations later, after the grief process has been allowed to take place.

For instance, there have been science fiction television series that have clearly been inspired by 9/11 (Star Trek: Enterprise, Battlestar Galactica), but I have yet to see a dramatic series dealing with the actual historical event. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

On the other hand, there have been many works of fiction incorporating the actual events of Pearl Harbour, because that happened many decades ago.

If the event you have in mind is as fresh in the popular consciousness as 9/11, I would suggest you create a fictional tragedy that is quite different but may have some similar effects on people rather than use the actual event. Of course, you have to be the judge how sensitive a topic it is, since I don't know which event you are planning on using.

Best of luck.

Comments for Story inspired by real events

Click here to add your own comments

May 22, 2014
in response..
by: Anonymous

I actually want to do the recent event that happened in South Korea, the Ferry disaster.. I was planning to incorporate the same disaster in my story to connect the events.. is that okay? or is it better to create another one instead?

May 22, 2014
by: Glen

You might be okay, if you are writing in English for a Western audience, because the readers will be removed enough from the disaster. It would be different if you were writing in Korean. Also because it will take a couple of years to write, sell, and publish the book (assuming all goes well).

May 23, 2014
in response..
by: Anonymous

I see.. I plan to finish the novel and make it in a script type to submit in Taiwan entertainment..hopefully they can make it into a TV series.. anyhow, that would be in a few years time if all goes well..

thanks!! :)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.