A few days ago I did one of my favorite things about being a writer — research. In the middle of the week and the middle of the day, I hopped on my scooter, riding through downtown Seattle to the Museum of Flight. My goal: tour the interior of a B-17. This aircraft had a special appeal because of the level of restoration. It looked like its crew of ten had just returned from a mission, headsets at the ready, oxygen bottles in place, even two Stanley thermos bottles behind the cockpit.
I could easily get carried away about what I saw, but for this blog, I think I’ll focus more on why I’d take time to look at this plane. Am I planning on setting my next novel in a WWII bomber? No, but, I never know when an idea for a story might pop up or a B-17 will come in handy. Think of the possibilities:
A skeleton crew ferries this aircraft across the Pacific to Hickam Field on Oahu, only to be intercepted by a raging storm, a squadron of Zeros, a jet fighter from the future, an alien spacecraft taking the aircraft and crew for further study, a fold in time which puts them in the present or flying over Gettysburg in the 19th century.
A young man leaves the farm, college, a wealthy Senator father, a pregnant girlfriend, a trail of serial killings (take your pick) to be a waist gunner in a B-17 over Germany. He bails out over Berlin fighting his way back to safety or he’s captured and imprisoned, or he finds an underground resistance, or he falls in love with a farmer’s daughter who is in a relationship with a German officer….
You get the idea.
So, given a B-17 as your starting point, where would you go? Have some fun. I’d love to hear your ideas.
Richard’s novel TOXIC RELATIONSHIP, a finalist in the 2011 Writers League of Texas Literary Contest, due to be release by Champagne Books, August 2012.