Jo Blackwell Writer & Photographer Northampton

Jo Blackwell Inspiration Station

Moral Dilemmas in “Faction”

Moral Dilemmas

I have been wrestling lately with the morality of using real events, involving real people in Fiction. My novel, as yet unnamed, is based on a true story. I know it is true because I have researched it and because my grandfather was a part of it.

The latter fact provoked a phone call from a relative expressing concern at my appropriation of his story as part of mine. I was able to reassure her that this wasn’t biography, that names would be changed and that Jack would not actually appear as a character, but it threw me. So much so that I put the project on hold for over 12 months.

This fear that what I write could dishonour the memory of those brave men who served and suffered in the Far East Campaign of World War 2 horrifies me. The idea that I could upset their families even more so. On the other hand, we honour them by remembering, and my story will introduce a new generation to their remarkable exploits.

As an author, the story has been burning in my imagination for a good few years. It was foggy and incomplete, but the little I knew – that my granddad had been marooned whilst escaping from the Japanese advance on Singapore – sparked my curiosity as a child and has always been in the back of my mind.

Three years ago I happened to visit Singapore and spent some time in Changi Museum. Jon Cooper, the  historian there at the time, was kind enough to review my scant information and confirmed my suspicion that it didn’t add up. It wasn’t until previously classified information was released that I began to piece together the true story. A story so incredible to me, still with so many unanswered questions that there is scope to speculate and create a work of fiction based on the true events.

I have my plot. I have my setting. Now to decide how best to create my characters – a moral dilemma in itself…

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2 Replies

  1. Jill E

    Keep writing down the words….don’t let the dilemmas hold you hostage!

    1. Jo

      Thank you for the encouragement. I am, I am!

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