mentioning Disney characters

Discussion in 'Character Development' started by XLadyX, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Erm, seems to me you just want to write a revenge fic for the sole purpose of hurting the people who hurt you. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but is it really a good use of your writing talents? Is it really worth the possibility that they might just sue you anyway because you dared injure their pride? The way you then go off to say that you'll write a second book about them, you'll get the judge involves really makes me wonder if you know what you're doing.

    I've had people in my life, both real-life and on the internet, who have hurt me, but I don't focus my writing on making them cardboard villains in my stories. They're not worth the trouble.

    I agree with @Okon. Sometimes the best revenge is simply living your own life, a life that doesn't include them in any way, shape or form. A life where you didn't allow them to destroy your own happiness.
     
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  2. XLadyX

    XLadyX Banned

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    I've tried, but nothing in my life ever seems to go the way I want. If I can't have my long distance love, I'd rather seek my vengeance and get something out of life. Life has never treated me well no matter how hard I've tried to work for a happy life. Something always pops up every few months and I just don't know what to do anymore :/
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Of course you can be sued. If you're telling the truth and can prove it, you'll win, but that's up to a jury to decide generally.
     
  4. XLadyX

    XLadyX Banned

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    I have her uncaring e-mails and texts saved as evidence if it comes down to it as to what set me off. See that's the thing I hate about the jury, you can be a douche to someone but won't get punishment for law with it, but if you plot revenge you could get into trouble. She emailed me last week wanting to meet out of nowhere (over a year of no contact) wanting to talk with me but I can't forgive her again. Not the Shrek girl but another former friend. I knew the former friend for 20+ years but she never had that "unspoken loyalty" even though she knew me for so long. I never end friendship over boys, but when she's nice to a girl or someone who is gossiping about me instead of sticking up for me, it's over for me, especially when I knew someone for that long.
     
  5. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

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    This is not a good plan.

    You can do whatever you want. If you're asking whether you can be sued, the answer is yes. Will they win? It depends on the facts.
     
  6. XLadyX

    XLadyX Banned

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    Is there any way I can get my vengeance writing a story about this without revealing them at all? I'm trying to think of some, but all I can think about so far is talking about what I think of when it comes to lifetime friendships and loyalty without me name dropping anyone or mentioning any character.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    @thelostxin what you have to be worried about is a defamation case, and one of the elements of defamation generally requires that the person reading the publication reasonably believe that it is about the person who is claiming to be defamed. Even if you change names, for example, it could be a problem if the person who is the subject of the story is still reasonably apparent to a person reading the story.

    Of course, truth is considered an affirmative defense to a defamation claim, so as long as you're telling the truth you have that defense on your side. From a practical standpoint, you should ask yourself how likely it is that the person would sue you, whether what you say is true or not, and whether you can afford to defend a defamation suit assuming you had to go all the way through trial and present your defense. If you have good proof that what you said is true, you might not even get to a jury verdict, but litigation is expensive even without going that far into the process.

    Ultimately, it's a risk v. reward calculation, as a lot of these issues are.
     
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  8. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not really sure what it is you're doing (although we've strayed from the original topic). All the talk of revenge, etc -- I'm not sure what the best route is. You seem to be very young. Things that seem large now will seem less so with time.

    Now, it is true that writing can be a catharsis. That is, it's a great way to work through your feelings. If you're dealing with particular people who are causing you upset, you can write in a diary/personal journal all kinds of stuff, even invent scenarios about what you might wish would happen. Those are all private, and can be a great tool for working through emotions and feelings.

    Writing a novel is a little bit different. People do write novels to work through personal issues, and are inspired by real life characters all the time. Many novels are actually truth disguised as fiction. And that's okay. But when you have a character that is inspired by a real person, you need to do all sorts of things to fictionalize them. Often when people do this, the real person has no idea they even were the basis for a particular character. Change everything about them that you can -- their gender, their physical characteristics, their ethnicity, their family structure, where they live, their profession, their hobbies, etc.

    Ultimately, writing a novel is something that's fulfilling for a writer. It's not for revenge or to hurt other people. There can be a feeling of satisfaction if, for example, in a novel you're able to provide a bully with his come-uppance, but really the story would need to stand alone, and a reader would feel the satisfaction through the characters. Not from some reference to real life people or situations.
     
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  9. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    ^ Exactly. I wouldn't get that the bully is supposed to be someone in real-life that had hurt the author, I would just see the bully and his/her interactions with the other characters. If they're flat and one-dimensional, the catharsis factor is diminished when karma bites them in the ass.

    That's not to say personal revenge fics aren't allowed, of course not. That's how writers exercise the negativity out of their system, but to expect an outside party (ie, other readers) to know exactly who these characters are based off of is a little unfair.
     
  10. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Another point to consider is that, if you rely on the defence that what you wrote is true, damages would be increased quite substantially in the event that you lost the case. The reason is that you have repeated the libel that the case is about.

    There is a saying that common sense flies out of the window when litigation walks in the door.

    Reading your posts, you're obviously upset about this, and it's affecting how coherently you're writing. It may well be a good idea to get all your feelings down on paper, but with no thought of trying to get it published. At least, not until you've calmed down enough to re-read it without getting upset. And then, I suspect, you'll see that the literary merit isn't enough to justify anybody publishing it.
     
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  11. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Contributor Contributor

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    I think it's a bad idea. Truth is one thing - describing this person as looking like Shrek is not a fact, it's an opinion, an insulting opinion, and if I were on the jury, I'd see this for what it is and you would lose Big Time. Write your story however you want - and then burn it or put it in a drawer. Then put your creativity into something constructive.

    And btw, few people's lives go the way they want. Successful people make lemonade.
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    The libel, or alleged libel, would have to be repeated in court regardless. The judge or jury couldn't make a decision without hearing what was said. I doubt you'd have to worry about an increase in damages for it being repeated in court, because there are strong public policy arguments against that.
     
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  13. Lemon flavoured

    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    Opinions can't be classed as libel though, can they? IIRC simply insulting someone is not libel.
     
  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Opinion can be a strong defense to defamation, but you're relying on a judge or jury to decide whether what you've said qualifies as an opinion. In other words, merely saying "Hey, that was an opinion" may not be enough. It helps if what you're alleging as an opinion cannot be demonstrated as actually being false, and that a reasonable person reading it would see it as an opinion and not a statement of fact.
     
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  15. Lemon flavoured

    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    That makes sense. I would imagine though that very few juries would consider that comparing someone to Shrek was anything other than an opinion. Hell, in the UK (which has rather stricter libel rules than the US) newspapers have got away with comparing a famous soccer player (Wayne Rooney) to Shrek.
     
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  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yes, I think that's right. And in the U.S., there are strong protections for the press, as well as for parody and satire. Also, in this country a public figure has a much higher burden to meet when bringing a defamation claim than a purely private individual.
     
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  17. XLadyX

    XLadyX Banned

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    I have deleted some of it and am thinking about other ways to write about what they did without mentioning them. I just wrote everything as it happened then decided I don't want that to be published.
     
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  18. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Active Member

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    Not sure how I stumbled onto this thread, its 5 years old but Christ-on-a-bike! Things escalated rather quickly here, and I'm sincerely worried about the OP!
     
  19. Lolly Inkstain

    Lolly Inkstain Member

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    "I hate to seem unkind, I'm certainly no oil panting myself. But this girl, ugh, it was all I could do not to mistakenly say her name wrong; for every time I saw her, she reminded me of a certain ogre from a certain popular children's film".

    I don't know. In any writing of mine, I'd probably struggle not to recall someone as "flipping fugly"
     
  20. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    Tell the truth in your dialogue. What would your character say? Would they compare the other character to a generic ogre, or that specific ogre? If you want to chicken out later due to copyright concerns that's fine, but worry about that in the revisions and possibly with the consultation of real professionals if your books gets to that stage. No need worrying about it in draft.
     
  21. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Active Member

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    @Matt E This thread is ancient, I stumbled upon it and commented simply out of disbelief! Good advice but I don't think the OP is around to see it. :)
     
  22. Matt E

    Matt E Ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8 Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I just noticed that too, haha. Oh well.
     
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