1. etr2012

    etr2012 New Member

    May 24, 2012
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    Question Regarding Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by etr2012, May 26, 2012.

    I am a newbie to the forum so thank you for your time and patience in dealing with my questions.

    I am in the process of developing a book for writing. This book will deal with my childhood, memories etc.

    My question, if I use people in my book such as my brothers, friends etc. do I have to have their permission? Also, hypothetically if I wrote a book and it gets published and sells would anyone I name in the book be entitled to a cut of the profits?

    I know it's not an easy question, in my mind perhaps, but perhaps you can shed light on the question.

    Thank you again for your help!
  2. louis1

    louis1 Member

    Jan 3, 2012
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    change the names and you shouldn't have any problems.
  3. Skodt

    Skodt New Member

    Jul 29, 2010
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    If you change the names they can't claim any royalties or defamination. Don't use exacts of like houses, or cars, or descriptions either. Make the characters your own, then use the story and fill them in.
  4. koal4e

    koal4e New Member

    May 19, 2012
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    Skodt is right, use their persona as a guide for your characters, but give them different names and likeness to make them different people.
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    what do you mean by this?... a how-to on writing?

    first of all, no one is entitled to any portion of your royalties/profits from writing something unless they contributed writing of their own to the ms, making them co-authors... in such cases, you should always have a collaboration agreement in place before either of you writes a single word...

    if you change the names, situations, etc., then it becomes fiction... and no matter how much you change things, it may still be possible for some you write about, or their friends/relatives, to recognize who you're describing, simply by you being the author and the similarities you can't completely disguise...

    if you're writing a memoir, or autobiography, it is certainly best to get the written permission of anyone you'll be including in the book [or surviving kin] and have them okay what you've written about them/their loved ones, but that's often not going to be possible... in which case, some may not be happy with how you've depicted them and their actions, so may be inclined to keep you from publishing it, and/or sue you after the fact for libel, defamation, breach of privacy, et al....

    that said, check out the memoir/autobio section of any bookstore or library and you'll see that people publish such books all the time, so it's obviously not impossible to do...

    when in doubt, don't ask members of a writing site, consult a literary attorney...

    and familiarize yourself with copyright basics re authorship, at www.copyright.gov

    hope this helps... love and hugs, maia
  6. ithestargazer

    ithestargazer Active Member

    Apr 13, 2010
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    the big M, Australia
    Mammamaia said it. Check the legalities of your country. You don't want to write an entire book only to have a literary agent tell you it's not publishable.

    If you're writing fiction then making sensible changes in names, events, places, institutions, etc is probably the easiest and most responsible course to take.
    If you're writing an auto/bio then you have to practice much more discretion. Getting permission is the first thing you should do.

    I recently read an auto/bio where the author had a disclaimer stating that everything written was entirely factual though names, places, etc had been changed for privacy reasons.

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