1. Vacuum Eater
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    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

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    I have a problem.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Vacuum Eater, Jun 4, 2010.

    A friend of mine and I often role-play using characters from various movies and books in stories and settings of our own imagining. Sort of like verbal fan fiction :D. One of the characters I particularly liked playing has inspired me to make a similar (but far more developed and complex) character in a book I'm writing. And now the problem: my friend (who has a bit of a stake in the book I'm writing) has gotten so attached to the name of the character which inspired my character that he doesn't want to let me pick a new name! The characters are roughly similar in appearance, temperament, and profession, so I'm afraid that, should my book ever get published, readers will say, "Ha, you lifted your character from ___!" With a change of name, the original source of inspiration would be very difficult to pinpoint.

    I've already voiced these concerns to my friend, but he remains adamant that I should not pick a new name. What else can I tell him to change his mind?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you don't have a collaboration contract in place, he has no legal right to tell you what to write or not write...

    but if he has contributed anything at all to what you are writing, you should have a written agreement!...

    if you don't, and both of you don't agree to one, then to cover yourself legally, you have to take out all of your friend's contributions and proceed to write your own original work... if you don't, you could find yourself in a big legal mess, as well as torpedoing a friendship...
     
  3. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    Names are meaningless. I purposely give most of characters relatively generic names so i don't become attached. But yeah, a rose by any other name, blah, blah.
    I believe the kind of objective emotional detachment needed to see names as what they are (abstract) is essential to the writing process, and would be a good thing for your friend get better at. And what better opportunity than now?
    I see your dilemma tho.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Vacuum Eater
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    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

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    Thank you, everyone, for your answers. But really, what can I tell my friend that might help bring him around? For example, is it possible for me to get into legal trouble with the author of the original character if I use the same name for my similar character? For instance, if the author of Spiderman had called Spiderman "Superman" instead, could that have resulted in a lawsuit? The character which inspired mine has about zero pop-culture status, but still . . .

    No, I don't have a collaboration contract. However, I suspect that our friendship would just as likely be torpedoed if I wrote the book without his contributions . . . :(
     
  5. MissBelle
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    MissBelle Member

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    Well, I will say that I dont think names are meaningless. Names can add to a character or suggest something about that character.

    It is your story, you should do what you want. Suggestions are always nice, but unless you are really working together they should be just suggestions.
     
  6. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    If you're a good enough writer, you'll end up making your characters your own anyway, regardless of similarities.

    Just don't name your protagonist Harry Potter, or Frodo.
     

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