1. KtK

    KtK New Member

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    Advice on writing about people I know

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by KtK, Jan 14, 2017.

    My son has been playing a sport since he was 6 (is 14 now). He was getting on fine and improving each year and started to develop a talent for the sport, then a few years ago the head coach started to change and his son started to get nasty toward my son. My son changed team last year and is improving again. I know there is a story in there and I made a note of everything that was said and done so have a good base for it but the thing is, I'm a bit scared of writing it. A story needs a good guy and a bad guy right? But what if the people in question realise it's about them??

    I would appreciate any advice on whether it would be okay to publish it if I ever get it finished or if it's one to keep for myself?

    Thank you.
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If you plan to publish it and value the relationship, I wouldn't make it about recognizable people. If you don't plan to publish or don't value the relationship, why worry?
     
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  3. KtK

    KtK New Member

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    I am beyond the point of caring about what the people in question think and I don't associate with them anymore, the relationships were ruined by their actions a long time ago. The worry is if they could sue. There would be no question about who the story was about. But it would be such a good story if it was done right! I might carry on writing it and see how I feel closer to completion. It's still in the very early stages of first draft at the moment.
     
  4. Malisky

    Malisky Sirocco Contributor

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    Just don't use any real names and don't mention that this is a true story. You'll be fine.
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    IANAL, but... you could probably change enough to make it difficult to connect them? Like, different names, obviously, and maybe change the sport or something.
     
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Just state if you do publish that your work does not reflect any persons alive, and
    if their names exist in your story it is by coincidence. Loop Holes, baby, loop holes.
    That is how you can get away with it. But If it is as bad as you say, then I would
    say change the names, or you could have legal repercussions which is not good.
     
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  7. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I agree with the above. As long as you change the names, physical appearance, setting and other small details that aren't 100% material to the story, I would think it would be very hard to prove slander in court.

    And this all assumes that you get the book completed and published (either traditional or self-published), and that it would be successful enough that the coach you're talking about would even come across it and recognize himself. You've got a long way to go before the possibility of someone suing you over your story is within the realm of possibility, and in the meantime I wouldn't recommend letting it distract from your writing.
     
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  8. KtK

    KtK New Member

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    Thank you to everyone that has replied. I feel a lot better now I've had some opinions. Of course all of the names will be changed (of people, teams and place names). I might have to keep the sport though as I don't know much about other sports. Ha!

    You are completely right Laurin, I am a looong way off from publishing and thanks for the encouragement, I'd come to a stand still worrying about it. I plan on putting a lot of my time into this project over the coming year and would love to see it published one day.
     
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  9. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It will also help if you make sure to write the coach and his son not as stereotypical bullies, but as ordinary fallible human beings who do rotten things because they have weaknesses and problems of their own. And if you know for real what made that coach change, you might substitute something else for it so it's not so obvious that he's the one in the story.

    The basic idea for my first novel comes from something weird this one guy did nearly 36 years ago. I think it's safe to publish now because the other two people involved are both dead and I didn't tell anyone about it at the time. But I doubt you want to wait that long.
     
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  10. KtK

    KtK New Member

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    Thanks, excellent advice everyone. Feeling a lot happier about putting it all onto paper now.
     

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