1. Mike1406
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    Mike1406 New Member

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    New to writing.... But I have an idea...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mike1406, Feb 7, 2012.

    Hi All

    I'm new to this forum as well as new to writing. I've always wanted to write a book, but never actually had the time... until now!

    I have what I think is a good outline for a ghost story. It begins with a factual story from 1900 that ended in a tragedy as well as a mystery. My idea is to use this as a backdrop to the fictional story I have based in modern day.

    My question is this:
    As the factual part relies on actual persons and events. Am I breaking all the rules if I now give the story a modern twist using those people? Or should I just change all references to a 'similar' but fictional event in the past which has no references. The reason I ask is that there may be living relatives of the original people in the factual tragedy of 1900

    This may be very basic advice... and I think I may already know the answer. But worth asking?

    Thanks for any comments!
     
  2. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    I don't know all the unspoken rules about this issue, but I personally have no problem with writers discussing actual historical events and taking great liberty with the actual facts of the case. I would probably use the actual persons and events and be up front in the beginning that it is based on a historical event but that I had taken some liberty with the facts in order to suit my purposes.
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many mystery and adventure novels were inspired or loosely based on a real event, "The Count of Monte Cristo" is one of them. I am pretty sure that there are no restrictions other than making sure you declare that your story was based/inspired by such and such event. Personally, I'd change all the people names, just to make it more simple (if you leave real names you are running into a problem of fiction vs non-fiction)
     
  4. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    Personally I would not use the real names, especially when you're talking about writing a ghost story. That could be highly offensive to any living relatives. I say just write something "similar" to what really happened. You can have fake references, it's a novel, you create the world.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Nonsense.

    "Terrible Angel" by Dermot McEvoy was a novel about Michael Collins, the Irish revolutionary killed in the 1920s, sent back to New York in the 1990s as an angel to help a mortal.
     
  6. Mike1406
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    Mike1406 New Member

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    Thanks for your replies.

    I'm intending that my story starts with details of a factual event nearly 100 years ago, where a group of people disappear, presumed killed and would include factual reporting and quotes. I would then like to cut to the present day where they are now mysteriously in today's society. But I intend to make these people part of a fictional crime, which resulted in their deaths.

    Their living relatives might not like their ancestors names being besmirched in this way.
     
  7. Snap228
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    Snap228 Member

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    Depends on how many toes you want to step on. ;-)

    But yeah I don't know of any laws either, other than maybe libel. So if it's still a well-known last name, you might want to be careful. I guess it largely depends on how important the physical names are to your story.
     
  8. Jared King
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    Jared King Member

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    Many books/movies use real historical characters while taking artistic liberty with the actual events of their lives. Spartacus comes to mind, but I'm sure hundreds of other examples could be just as easily named. I think you'll probably be fine if we want to use these real events or people in your fictional story.
     
  9. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    Am I right guessing you're writing about the Flannan Isles mystery? I would change all the names, not just people, but also places, maybe even countries. Of course real events and characters have been used in fiction and you should feel free to do whatever you want, but I would try to blur it, so it's not based on but inspired by. If the Flannan Isles-case is indeed your subject, I'd love to read it, the story is quite interesting.
     

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