1. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    Basing a character off of a real person

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ettina, Dec 6, 2016.

    I'm working on a zombie apocalypse story, and one of the characters I want to include is a guy based off of Joerg Sprave from the slingshot channel.

    http://www.slingshotchannel.com/

    I'll give him a different name and a reason to be in the right place at the right time, but he'll be a German guy who likes making crazy handmade weapons for fun. When the zombie apocalypse hits, his skills will be extremely useful in keeping everyone else alive.

    What are the ethics of basing a character off of a real person like this?
     
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  2. Raven484

    Raven484 Contributor Contributor

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    If you are going to use his exact name, you would need to contact him for permission. Other than that, if you change the name, you can base your characters on anyone you want. I base my characters off real people all the time. It only becomes tricky when you use their real names. Most people don't mind at all. In my WIP now, the best friend of my MC is my best friend in real life. I told him about it and he agreed and signed a permission form for me to do so. He is a macho guy, so now I tease and threaten him all the time. I write sci/fi and I tell him that if he doesn't agree with me on everything, I will have his character raped and probed by the aliens in my story. I also let him beta read the parts he's in so he feels part of the process.
     
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  3. Unripe Plum

    Unripe Plum Member

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    I don't think it's a problem. In fact, as you write, you're likely to find that the character develops in a direction all his own. The person you're basing him on is only a starting point of a reference or a template.
     
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  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Agreed. All of the judges in Under the Knife are based on RL chefs (or in some cases, a combination of two chefs), but eventually they developed additional physical and/or personality traits I hadn't planned on.
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Interesting that it is about chefs. Had to reread your post a couple of times.
    Hope nobody mistakes a finger for a carrot.:p

    @Ettina I think you will be fine. Using the Exact same name as Joerg Sprave you should get permission, if you plan to base it off of him.
    Other wise I think you will be alright to use him as a template for your own character. While you don't have to credit him as your inspiration
    for your character, you could in a dedication page.
    I watch his channel on the youtubes, and he makes some interesting weapons. :)
     
  6. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    "Under the Knife" is the name of the televised cooking competition the MCs compete in and fall in love during. so that's where the title comes from. There's a lot of knife puns scattered throughout the story.
     
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I think it can be a good thing to base characters off of people in the real world. They tend to come out more developed and, well, realistic. It never hurts to have someone in the back of your mind when creating a character. You know the sound of their voice and the way they say things. You know how they do or would handle certain situations. You have a strong visual for what they look like. Allow yourself to tweak and change things as you get more into developing your character and your story, but I think using someone in real life is a great way to start developing a character.
     
  8. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I see/have no problem with it. I feel if someone puts themselves in the public light, they are public.
    I'm working on a story about a very public family and a business man that just got a better job, all very public people.
     

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