Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Politics and writing. How often should the two meet?

I've been reading a lot of headlines in the news about Egypt and it makes me wonder how much political upheaval influences writing, both fiction and non-fiction. I know that Brandon Sanderson brings politics into his books with a very deft hand, but he does it within fantastical worlds. How does one go about putting politics into a novel that is based in reality? Can it be done without being dated too quickly? I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Please, take the floor Inkers. :)


  1. Me, personally, I don't think you can put actual current events into fiction without it seeming dated. Now if you were to write about something that happened 3 or more years ago, I think it would be ok. Then again, by the time its published it would be that long ago. But only something HUGE, like 9/11. Something not ginormous would seem out of date.

    Maybe also it would depend on your target audience. YA might not even remember the event cause they were in elementary school when it happened. Adults, on the other hand, see time a lot slower and what happened two or three years ago wasn't that far back.

    Do you like my rambling thoughts? Now off to make French Bread.

  2. Politics never changes, only the names, so if you kept it general I think it could be applied to anything.

  3. I personally like the books that either have metaphorical reference to political happenings (fantasy books like Narnia) or that take politics one step further and say" what if" (like 1984 and Hunger Games). That's just my opinion. Anything that's too realistic will feel like reading non-fiction.

  4. Good point, Deb.

    Yes, DJ, I like your rambling thoughts. :)

    Linda, you're making me think of the movie "Clear and Present Danger" with Harrison Ford.

  5. So here is the scariest thing about the current events and how they could relate to a novel. On January 6th I was sitting in a business and Technology class where the instructor said, "Last year I didn't know if Twitter was going to make it, but today it is a powerful information network. You could start a rebellion with Twitter." He meant a political rebellion one where the savvy populace all acted as one when the tweet came to move.
    On January 25th the google exec in Egypt disappeared and they shut down the internet hoping to quell a rebellion that had been facilitated through Facebook. I don't have the details of whether Twitter was involved but how scary is it to see a prediction like that happen so quickly.
    Politics can and should be present in the things we write because it is part of our everyday lives no matter how much we realize it.