1. kristenhouse
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    kristenhouse New Member

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    Adapting a fiction story from a real-life newspaper article

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kristenhouse, Jun 15, 2014.

    I've written a story based on an event that occurred in 2011: during a tragic hunting trip, a man accidentally shot his friend and, grief stricken, shot and killed himself. My story includes my fictitious account of what happened, followed by a copy-pasted version of the actual newspaper article.

    Until now, this has been a story for "my eyes only." However, I'm looking to publish it shortly. How do I go about publishing this story without offending the victims' families or potentially finding myself in a lawsuit? Or can I publish it as-is, original victims' names and newspaper article included, as it's public information?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You definitely should not include the actual newspaper article. You could get into trouble for that, and it's amateurish. You don't even need to cite the article at all since you're only taking inspiration based on an idea. I would change the names of the characters and the location where this happened.
     
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  3. Eedjii
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    Eedjii Member

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    Yup, thirdwind is totally right.
     
  4. kristenhouse
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    kristenhouse New Member

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    Okay, cool. Nice to have some external input. It's so difficult to make a clearheaded decision when I've been working so closely with this story. Thanks, guys.
     
  5. Chesster
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    Chesster Member

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    People gain inspiration all the time from something they saw in 'real life' or browsing through a news article or an overheard tale told in a bar. The fact that your story is Fiction is the main reason NOT to cite your inspiration.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand *why* you want the newspaper article as part of your story.
     
  7. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    The Beatle song, a day in the life was taken directly from a newspaper. Not all of it, I hasten to add, but the opening lines, certainly.

    Also, for the benefit of Mr Kite was lifted, almost verbatim, from an old circus poster.

    Clearly, borrowing from news papers is an established tradition. At least for music, so why not books?
     
  8. kristenhouse
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    kristenhouse New Member

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    I wanted to use the newspaper article because I thought it was a unique twist on a "fiction" story. My story is fiction, though much of the story is derived and inspired from real events (hence the newspaper). I've never seen a newspaper story attached to a fiction story before, and I thought it would be neat to show the direct source of inspiration alongside the story.

    However, I've tossed that idea out--though it's interesting (at least to me) to have it for personal use, I'm not including the newspaper article and I'm changing all the names of real-life victims to avoid any potential litigation. Better safe than sorry!
     
  9. bsbvermont
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    bsbvermont Active Member

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    Wow...unless this occurred more than once in 2011, I know the family involved. They have suffered tremendous hurt from this (and a previous) tragedy. If you are going to move forward with your story I would change as many details as possible. It is the only humane thing to do.
     
  10. kristenhouse
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    kristenhouse New Member

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    Thanks for your input. I have already decided not to include the original details or newspaper article.

    Thanks for everyone's opinions!
     

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