In such cases, you might pretend you're the owner of the dog, the man who was bitten, a neighbor watching the event who knows something the victim doesn't know. You might pretend you stole the jewels, that they were your jewels or--perhaps--that they weren't really stolen. This is a great way to play with ideas, characters and plots.
The Missing Malaysian Passenger Plane
The prevailing theory, based on the radar, satellite, pings and other evidence at hand is that the plane's course was intentionally altered for reasons unknown so that it ended up flying until it ran out of fuel before crashing into the ocean at or near the primary search area.
Theories about what might have happened, from mechanical failure to hijacking/terrorism to abduction by aliens have run rampant through the social media and the panels of experts gathered by major news organizations to discuss the disappearance and search.
For now, without getting into the need to do a lot of research about the technologies involved with commercial aviation, radar, satellites and air traffic control systems, this mystery easily lends itself to multiple qhat if questions and story ideas.
- If you like human interest approaches, then you put yourself in the shoes of one or more of the passengers. Or a crew member trying to save the plane.
- If you like international thriller/spy novels, you can put yourself into the shoes of those who--let's say--could have stolen/sabotaged the plane for political reasons.
- If you like police, private eye and other mysteries, you can use the point of view of an FBI agent or other investigator looking at the disappearance as a crime.
- Or, perhaps you're the pilot trying to save the plane or a member of the search team trying to find the plane, or an operative of one kind or another who has classified information about the matter that hasn't been shared with the public or the search teams.
Sooner or later, I expect somebody will write a novel or a screenplay based on one or more aspect of the disappearance and search. Perhaps it will be you. If not, the event is very good for your writing practice. For example:
- Is it logical that a flight crew (or a hijacker) with enough savvy to alter the plane's course and avoid detection would simply fly the plane until it ran out of fuel, killing everyone on board? What motives might be behind that scenario?
- What if the flight crew (or a hijacker) miscalculated the amount of fuel and thought it was possible to reach Perth? What motives might account for that?
- Is it logical to presume the plane has been lost? Could the plane have, as it did, avoided detection and communication with the ground, and then successfully landed in a country that wanted the plane (you pick the reason)? What if people on the ground "played stupid" and didn't share information showing they knew all along where the plane was headed?
- Speculate further about another plane dropping black boxes in the search area to mimic those of MH370 and/or creating the apparent satellite data that suggests the plane is where the search is being conducted? How would this be accomplished? How would it look from the point of view of the pilot, the passengers, the perpetrators and the investigators?
- If the plane is found where searchers think it is, multiple stories exist. If we find out what happened and why, the true story may well be the most compelling. What if you are on the plane? What if you're the pilot? What if you're waiting at home for a relative or friend on the plane?
Ultimately, investigators will look at all of the hardware, software, and procedures involved in the disappearance of MH370 once the causes are known--or even if they're never known--to make air travel safer and search operations more efficient.
Yet, the human side of this tragedy and its expected outcome is immense. That's what haunts us, scares us, and stirs up our sympathy and compassion for the hundreds of people impacted by this event. Within that human side, there will be real triumphs and defeats, real heroes, bad guys and good guys, and dedicated investigators and searchers. If I were an aviation expert, I would love to write a non-fiction book about such a story. But since I'm not, I can see a dozen ways to ask "what if" and then to practice writing various scenes.
There is a lot to speculate and write about (for practice), especially now when none of the likely causes and outcomes has become the real one.