For years I have considered writing a mystery with a crime or spy plot based on the 9/11 attack on New York’s World Trade Center towers. Even if I did have the time, however, I’ve never thought too seriously about it because I am concerned the plot would come across as being morbid or as though I was taking advantage of a horrific event. I mean, more than 3,000 innocents lost and nearly a decade and a half later I still have nightmare visions of so many of them jumping from the two towers.
Not that I have a shortage of story ideas (just a shortage of time to work on the half-dozen or so plots I already have sitting in my files), but this particular idea just keeps coming back to me like a boomerang.
So, the big question, at least in my mind, is whether piggy-backing on other peoples’ tragedies is fitting or appropriate?
My thinking, on a technical level, however, is that it seems as though fiction is best served with at least some reality for a point of reference. But, of course, this is one major heck of a point of reference.
By applying such a connection, such as a real-life event or of a noted individual, I figure readers can better relate to the story. For instance, I find it a lot more intriguing to read a story of fiction about World War Two, with at least some frame of reality, rather than a story about a futuristic U.S.-Russian nuclear exchange with people and events that may or (hopefully) may not ever exist. Although World War Two is fading into history, I grew up watching films based on the real-life war in Europe and the Pacific, along with knowing people who actually served in or survived the war.
And yes, I have not missed the irony here, at least on some level, between the tragedies of WWII and 9/11. I’m just ignoring it until I can figure out what if any differences there really are.
While on a human level, I may be hesitant to write fiction based on the 9/11 tragedy, the subject in a practical sense, would open up opportunities for many plot possibilities and twists.
Of course, 9/11 could be viewed as just one of many examples. I am sure there are plenty of similar other instances, or am I just making a big deal of nothing?
Anyway, relevant or not, it’s been interesting sorting all this out in writing.