When today’s headlines sound like a really cool book …

A newspaper headline that we wish were only in a book.  (source: National Archives via wikicommons)

A newspaper headline that we wish were only in a book. (source: National Archives via wikicommons)

I saw an article the other day about a Chinese law that requires children to visit their parents frequently. If the kids don’t, parents can file a complaint about them with the government.

Now, it’s a bit sad that they have to legislate this (I mean, really people, visit your parents! ) But, it also sounds like it could be the premise of a fiction novel. Now, of course in any fiction novel, you’d have a sinister government with punishments (like death or beheading) that far outweighed the crime, and you might even have sinister parents who would threaten their children with reporting if they didn’t go above and beyond what was expected. Or you could have sinister children who lock their parents away and threaten them to keep them from alerting the state.  It could be really great.

I guess writers have always ripped premises from the headlines, but, as a person who wrote a book about a society that had changed to legislate things that people nowadays have a choice about doing, this one jumped out at me.

So, are there any headlines that you’ve seen recently that would make a cool book premise? Or what’s your favorite book premise?

My favorite premise is obvious: Kelsey Reed lives in a world where she must donate her kidney to an ailing man, or be sentenced to death (from Life First). The premise of Wool — people living in silos underground after an atomic detonation leaves the earth’s surface uninhabitable — is very cool as well.

Tomorrow’s the fourth, so have fun celebrating this great nation’s independence.

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at http://rjcrayton.com/subscribe.
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3 Responses to When today’s headlines sound like a really cool book …

  1. What a headline! Definitely has the makings for a great book.

  2. Mel Parish says:

    I saw the headline for that article too – I hope that the punishment for failing to comply with the law is not the threat of jail time or otherwise that would defeat the purpose (though I suppose it would mean your parents would know where they could visit you!)
    Your post made me think about what inspires my novels. It is not so much the headlines that catch my interest, but the individual stories behind the headlines – how easily ordinary people can be caught up in extra-ordinary situations, either of their own making (Silent Lies – a businessman withholds information from police investigating the disappearance of his assistant) or by chance (Ulterior Motives -an expatriate is kidnapped while on vacation), which will potentially change their lives forever, and the effect it has on them and those closest to them.
    Great post – I’m going to share it.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re right, some of the best stories are about individuals coping with extraordinary situations.

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