I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time now…at least two years! And that’s the give-a-way isn’t it? Two years. At this point in time, anyone who mentions the past two years is most assuredly referencing the presidency of Donald J. Trump—which is exactly what I’m doing.
The question that interests me is how can we writers use the current political situation in our novels, stories, poems? There is a sizable non-fiction library already out there. Beginning with Fire and Fury, (I loved it.) and most recently The Commander in Cheat, a book I highly recommend. In between the two, you have, among many others, e.g., Bob Woodward’s excellent work: Fear. So the thought struck home, what about fiction?
What indeed? I’m going to list some topics that I believe may work as plots for whole novels or subplots within novels or short stories or indeed, poems that tackle such themes as power, dominance, authority, control, truth, deception, the list goes on and on.
In regard to the criticism that all of these topics have already been written about—well of course they have. Everything has been written about! It’s how you dress these ideas that will make them your own.
Plots for writers of Dystopian novels:
Three fascist dictators (think Trump, Putin, and Kim Jong-un) publicly conspire to wage war against each other but in fact bomb key cities the world over, setting in motion their ruthless plan to rule the earth. Each dictator secretly intends to kill the other two.
An American journalist, by way of a digital anomaly, receives a highly secretive document that reveals a plot hatched among the President and select congressmen to destroy American Democracy. The document reveals a violent take-over of liberal media (enemy of the people) networks.
A novel centered around a liberal-activist family who, while hosting a neighborhood barbecue for their like-minded friends, hear that several cable newscasters (think Anderson Cooper, Ari Melber, Van Jones, and Rachel Maddow) have all been arrested for “high crimes and treason” and their whereabouts unknown. And in the next twenty-four hours MSNBC and CNN become pro-Republican networks?
Any of the above could be plotted as a Sci Fi or even Fantasy novels. Power is power, right?
Plots for YA novels:
A freshman college student sends pics to her mother, an analyst who works for the CIA, that show FBI agents pushing several liberal professors into unmarked black vans on her college campus. And then the student’s phone goes blank.
A young teen couple who ride out to their favorite “spot” to be alone and witness a group of fundamentalists marching out of a church carrying torches and guns.
A junior high school girl realizes her boyfriend has no problem lying about his past as he desperately campaigns for president of the senior class.
A young man believes his pastor, who preaches that global warming is fake news, until he finds out that the preacher is secretly using church funds to build an expensive retainer wall around an exclusive park area that he owns. The wall will effectively hold back rising tides due to global warming, while allowing total flooding of contiguous working-class properties.
Plots for Literary novels:
The Trump presidency offers up tons of themes around which any number of novels could be penned. Here are a few suggestions.
Political rhetoric vs reality
Hatred as a motivating force
Dehumanizing the “other” engenders or reveals the dehumanization of the aggressor
Domination is weakness.
Capitalism’s miracle commodity: ignorance.
The fundamentalist notion that Evil is acceptable when it works toward an imagined good.
So what do you think? As you watch the news, do you find yourself mulling over things to write? Has the Trump presidency already made an appearance in your current work in progress? I look forward to hearing from you.
Last night as I was finishing this post, I saw the online news of the latest school shooting. The young man, Kendrick Castillo, of Hispanic descent, threw himself at the shooter, saving his classmates and died as a result.
At a Florida rally, a supporter responded to Trump’s railing against Hispanic migrants with the following remark: