I saw a play last week about the 1938 radio production of the War of the Worlds. I feel it is a great true-life example illustrating the responsibility writers have for their words and how they use them. For those who aren't familiar with what happened, here it is in a nutshell:
In 1898, H.G. Wells published a novel called WAR OF THE WORLDS that told the story of an alien invasion of earth. Forty years later, Orson Welles (no relation) adapted the book into a radio show and played in on air for Halloween.
The first two thirds of the commercial-free, 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated "news bulletins.” Many listeners thought an actual alien invasions by Martians was happening. The show caused a panic. Some people packed their cars and headed for safety. Others holed up in their basements till morning. When the general public learned it was a fictional story presented as news, there was a backlash.
Words have power. I remember the first time I ever read MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD. I cried and cried. Even TWILIGHT evoked some interesting emotions in me. As an author, I hope my words can do the same, but I also want to do it in a responsible way.
How about you? What do you think about the power of words?