In my story Julia, everything is set in motion by a plane crash. The protagonist then flies home to Lexington, KY from Chicago. She is in shock and the entire trip home is a gut-wrenching ordeal that she tackles alone.
At first, I was trying to stay as true to life as possible. The many times I have flown that route, it’s always out of O’Hare’s B-20, and so I explicitly call out her gate number. There is only one airline that flies nonstop between the two cities. Originally, I didn’t see this as a problem because, even though the story relies heavily on a plane crash, the airline itself is irrelevant.
However, one of the women in my writing group works for an airline and told me that anytime there is a crash and family members of victims have to fly for funerals, the airline pays for the ticket and shepards them all the way through the process (pick up, security, getting on the plane, etc.).
So, the dilemma: stay true and only have one airline (in which case, there would be sheparding) or create a fake second airline in order to not have to deal with facts that will slow down the pace of the prose.
Well, not really a dilemma. I’m opting for faking the second airline. Maybe by the time I actually finish said story there will be a second direct carrier (there was for a brief shining moment a few years ago, then stupid Indy stole the ATA flight).
But that got me thinking. If, for whatever reason, the name of the airline came up, what do I do? Write around it; do some fancy word smithing so that the name doesn’t actually have to be said? Or, do I go ahead and use United? Or, do I create a generic airline: Flys-A-Lot? Or, do I steal from Hollywood and use the always ill-fated Oceanic?
Tangential Thought 1: all my works are stories, even if they are novel length…I feel like a faker if I said novel
Tangential Thought 2: all my works tend to be named after main characters…it’s more of an identifier than a title, like “I’m working on that story about Julia”