Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Real people to Characters #amwriting

This is sort of a warning but it's something to be aware of. When casting a character for a story or using an idea from someone's make sure you  as totally different from the person you're losing. Skirting too close to the truth can bring trouble. Nearly happened to me once. Just after one of my books was published, the publisher received a call from a woman who threatened to sue. She indicated I had used her as a model for a bit player in a book. She wasn't objecting to the character but because there was sex in the book. After talking to the publisher, we decided there was no way she won the New York phone book there were pages of people with the same last name and a number with the same first name. Second I had never been in the state where this woman lived. She was never heard from again.

But she could have been. Now I have used real life people as a character in a book but they were so well disguised the person never realized they formed the basis for the book character. The name, the face, and sometimes even the sex were changed in creating the character.

Authors have been sued and lost the suits over using a person barely disguised in a book. Just remember to use your imagination if you're tempted to use the person or their story in a book of fiction.

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