1. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is This Wrong?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by psychotick, May 31, 2013.

    Hi,

    I recently received a one star hit and run type review on one of my books, and in my usual way ignored it. I figure if there are enough other people who like the book it won't really matter, and luckily enough there are. However I was miffed with this particular attack because of the tone. It felt like a personal attack, and it likely was. I was also annoyed since I could search this guy on Amazon and find out he's another author, which I'd fairly much guessed from what he wrote.

    Anyway I was happily not thinking of this guy while I was writing another book, and I suddenly realised I needed a name for a bad guy. Actually a truly despicable person who comes to a bad end early on in the book, and what do you know - I immediately thought of the chap who went rabid on my book.

    My question is - would this be wrong? Would it be stupid? And have any of you done this sort of thing?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    haha do it! Or at least make it an anagram of his name.
     
  3. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Morally - questionable.
    Legally - probably not a good idea, but on that you'd need advice from a lawyer working in your country.
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it sounds a bit silly. But if it's what you really want to do then as long as you don't use his full name there will be no reason for him to complain should he ever read it and make the connection.
     
  5. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    That would be a bit immature and would dilute the essence of your novel.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sometimes the way we react to people gives them more power than they really have. If it makes you feel better, use it in the draft. Change it before publication. Just makes life run smoother.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Very true.

    I wouldn't use the name, myself. Not because there is anything wrong or illegal about it, but just because it would be obvious to this other person that (s)he'd gotten the better of you. I wouldn't post any snarky comments about anything that (s)he'd written, either.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    How? Nobody would ever know except the author if she used an anagram or a slight variation. I would be tempted so far as to make the villain in the piece a wannabe author as well...

    I don't think authors should come out a crap all over another author's work, especially in public so if they cross the line they're putting their own head on the block.
     
  9. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    I admit that nobody will ever know. However, if you alter your story because of someone who annoys you, I think you are doing your novel a disservice. I'm just saying that if you use fiction to deal with your real life problems, it might serve as a good psychotherapy, but it won't benefit the story or your audience. Therefore it is time wasted.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Names matter less than we think, to be honest. I'd agree that morally, it is dubious. If you use it in order to spite the guy, then I'd refrain. If you use it because, well, just because, with no bitter feelings, then I guess why not? I think your personal motives here are the important thing. The guy will never know - even if you used his full name, if the character bears no other resemblance, the guy would not have a case at all against you even if he looked for one. Remember those disclaimers you always see in novels? "Any names, places or events that resemble real life are purely coincidence" (paraphrase)

    So, legally you're in the clear. But it is rather a moral question you should answer yourself.
     
  11. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for that. Just to clarify I wasn't planning on changing anything about the book save the character's name. But you're right it would be immature and one for spite alone. However,sometimes spite feels good!

    But perhaps I won't. After all the books a long way from finished so plenty of time to decide. And I'd seriously have to think about the legal aspects.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know a guy who actually wrote, and published, a novel purposefully to irritate his ex-girlfriend. She dumped him for a DJ. He creates a character in his book who looks, talks and acts like her, then gets her (the character) raped, abused and sent to a monastery to repent her sins... and then he even makes that into a ridiculously useless sub-plot marginally connected with the rest of the book. Just to make her even more pathetic. Now that, THAT is wrong :D
     
  13. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I'm a teenager but i find this to be quite silly. This sounds like something people in my grade with a lack of knowledge of reality would do. To avoid a legal conflict, i wouldn't consider the idea.
     
  14. The Byzantine Bandit
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    The Byzantine Bandit Member

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    I'd recommend against it. What if one day you change your thoughts on the matter and perhaps even meet and become good friends with this author? Hey, it might sound like a long shot, but it could happen.
     
  15. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    all good books send a message, maybe they did not like what you had to say, you can not please everyone and should not aspire to.
     
  16. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I second all of this.

    I actually used a name (just the first name) of someone who bullied me ruthlessly but this was back when I was in my early teens and the wounds were pretty fresh. In retrospect it feels silly and spiteful because now I feel sorry for him more than anything. I can't imagine what he had wrong with him mentally/emotionally since he felt the need to pick on a sickly teenage girl. I'm of the mind that most bullies bully because they either enjoy the power of it or they do it because of their own inadequacies or a combination of the two.

    While I can't say I never lose my temper with people who feel the need to be petty and pick at me over nothing most of the time I can respond rationally which is a big deal for me since I used to be very passive and unable to really defend myself or communicate that it was unacceptable treatment. I always joke not to make me angry or I'll put you in my book and kill you but I don't really do that or feel a need to. Ultimately while being spiteful feels good for a time it just winds up festering.
     
  17. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    I take characteristics rather than names. As a writer, you're an observer. Plus, throwing someone into your work due to a grudge puts you in the danger of writing a flat character. Instead, try to understand them.
     
  18. Rebel Yellow
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    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    The point is irrelevant without knowing his story. Some novels call for flat characters (Sherlock Holmes is a very flat character for example).
     
  19. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    I was addressing the danger of writing a flat character unintentionally. And I disagree with your opinion of Sherlock Holmes.
     
  20. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Ditto that. Sherlock is just difficult to connect with because he clearly has some personality disorder. I believe he's a high functioning sociopath. Most people cannot look at the world the way he does. Which is typically in a way that's very detached from people and emotions. He certainly is not one dimensional.
     
  21. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    where the mind is without fear...
    Go ahead, use his name, channel your hatred for him to create the dispiseful char, but when you are finally ready to submit your ms consider all the advice above against using the name.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'out of the mouths of babes'!

    if you want to be silly and childish and sink below the level of the one who hurt your feelings, go ahead and use his name...

    if you want to be wise and mature and not let the one who hurt your feelings 'win' forget he exists...
     

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