“So the Duke got the Duchess, the Duchess got the Doge, and the Doge got the Duke!”

Politics are a huge part of life. Step outside and you’ll see campaign posters, signs stuck to telephone poles, books and movies about political intrigue, talk show hosts featuring politicians, etcetera. The threads that make up any nation or country are political. It’s hard to write a book without them, and yet, let’s face it – for most of us, politics are boring. Who wants to write about an impeachment, or a political daggering, or squabbling senates? Not only does it sound dull, it sounds enormous. Creating a political weave to a book seems like an overwhelming task. After all, we’re young, and we’re writers. We aren’t Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy – we don’t know about the inner workings of the government. We don’t know about political subtlety or plots.

Except really, we do. We just don’t know it.

The trick for me was figuring out what makes a political maneuver? And it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought. The light-bulb moment, for me, came from reading Falling Kingdoms. It’s been described as Game of Thrones for the young adult platform, and even those of us who don’t watch GoT know it’s rife with political intrigue. I was surprised. Shocked, even.

The politics weren’t dull. They were simple and they were easy to understand – yet they were clear and intelligent.

Kingdoms totter on the edge of war – until someone from one kingdom kills another in an accident. It was nothing, really. A royal irritated at a wine seller.

But from that tiny seed, the oak of a multi-kingdom war grew.

It was such a little, simple thing.

And I thought – “So that’s how it’s done.”

In politics, there is nothing too small to be noticed. The tiniest thing can shift the balance. A side glance could cause suspicion. A careless remark could result in an assassination. Because the thing about politics is that the people behind it are humans, and humans make mistakes. They’re unpredictable. They’re petty. They’re sometimes courageous and heroic and righteous, and sometimes they’re underhanded, cruel, and scheming.

The people make the politics. 

Don’t be afraid to create some political ripples in your novel! Realize that the journey is comprised of small, steady steps. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed – take a deep breath, boil everything down to the bone, and get started. 

Mirriam Neal
Columnist