1. Fizzedine
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    Fizzedine Member

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    Writing based on a true story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fizzedine, Jul 5, 2015.

    Hey guys

    I read a true story (a horrific crime) and as it is it would make a great story.

    If you simply change character names is this a plagiarism breach?

    Cheers guys
     
  2. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Basing your story on a true story does not equate to copying the story down to every last detail (you will find that hard to do nonetheless). Out of curiosity, what do you have in mind?
     
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  3. Fizzedine
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    thanks man. It's based on a horrific crime with had elements of Stockholm syndrome :)
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    IANAL, but IMO if you're taking a written report of a true crime and just changing names, rather than researching the crime and writing a new novel based on the facts, you could be skirting very close to if not committing actual plagiarism. You would be, after all, using the original writer's words.

    But in all things legal, you need to consult an attorney, not ask on a writer's forum.
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, if you just change the names, of course it's plagiarism, since you'd still be using the other writer's other words.

    If you borrow the general ideas, but fictionalize the details? No problem, as far as I know - may need some sort of disclaimer if you manage to get it published. This would be like Law and Order, where the big idea is 'ripped from the headlines' but they make up all the rest.

    If you want to use the real details as well? Do some reading on 'true crime' as a genre - it's reasonably popular, I think. But you'll need to do research and be careful about being factual, since you're representing real people.
     

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