1. dastolat
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    dastolat New Member

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    Altering historical characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by dastolat, Jul 19, 2010.

    Hey, I'm writing a paranormal fiction novel (or trying to...) and I'm leaning towards the Salem witch trials... I was wondering if I'd be in danger of being sued or something (if it ever gets published; I'm not making plans, I'm just being precautious) if I changed certain aspects of their lives. The 'witches', I mean. I don't want to insult anyone or cause any problems by making my character actually be a witch... The story is about the great-great-great-whatever grandchild getting the powers and all from the ancestor, but in order to do that, I'd have to 'accuse' one of the 'witches' of practicing witchcraft...

    Please and thank you!
     
  2. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why not just... well make one up? Is it really vital that it be the decendant of an actual person? It wasn't just a few people who were accused of witchcraft. Why not just create your own character that just so happens to have taken part in it and then let their decendant obtain the powers or whatever.

    You wont have to tweak anything about the people that were actually involved, or even mention them for that matter.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. Not that long dead. If you been slandering some ones dad might made another case.

    The worst that can happen is that grumpy historians whine and grumps.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't just dismiss the possibility out of hand, w176!... people can sue anyone for anything... and descendants have sued over disputed references to their long-dead forbears...

    i agree with the poster who advised using a fictional character, not one from the history books...
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apart from being so far back in time, accusing someone of witchcraft won't be taken seriously.

    For similar reasons, astrologers don't get sued for fraud even if they claim to be able to predict the future.
     
  6. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well. In most of the world you cant sue anyone for anything. Its a extremely USA thingy. If the person asking the question is any nationality then the USA it probably wont be a problem.
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    All biographies and "historical" movies take huge liberties when portraying people who once lived. If every slandering portrayal was brought to court, the courts would have long lines of suers waiting down the streets.
     
  8. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    You could always just choose a different setting; witch trials happened all over the world.
     
  9. dastolat
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    dastolat New Member

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    Thank you all for the replies. The reason I hadn't decided to just make one up was because I thought (and it's obviously my fault for not reasearching more and not actually using my head) that the witch trials were about the 24 named exclusively.
     
  10. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that may have been the number(not sure the exact number of people) but that doesn't mean you can throw in a 25th person that you made up.

    No one, except maybe those bent on having all historic information 100% accurate, will really care if you do this.
     

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