Writing about real people in fiction

When MTV began and rose in popularity in the s, so did RPF about various bands and musicians, creating a subgenre called bandfic. Common sense and a cool head are key. In the s, fanzines about the band Led Zeppelin started printing fanfiction about the band, only changing the names to protect the real-life members.

Ten rules for writing fiction

What that means is unintentional defamation is actionable. Instead, stick to verifiable facts and your personal, emotional responses. If you are writing a story that takes place today, yesterday, or even in the future, you may want to include a real live person or maybe someone who has already died.

Typically, these cases involve incest, rape, abuse, or a serious disease or impairment. For example, in RPF based around The Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen is frequently shown as taking an Aragorn -like leadership role, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan are lighthearted Hobbit -like pranksters, and Elijah Wood is more physically fragile and emotionally vulnerable than his colleagues.

And as to whether it works or not, using an intriguing figure like Cromwell or Monroe provides an immediate draw. To reduce your risk of being one of the unlikely writing about real people in fiction, authors should consider the following: They may want to sell it to another writer, or they may not want anyone at all to write about them.

The biggest regret of my writing life is that I have never kept a journal or a diary. Many countries do not recognize the protections we give authors and publishers. Cut until you can cut no more. Essentially, before a public figure can be defamed there must be some degree of intent known as actual malice.

As much as you can. A final note, this article is designed to provide helpful information based on what I have learned over the course of my legal career. Reaction[ edit ] Ina man was arrested in the UK for writing and publishing on the internet a story featuring various members of the band Girls Aloud under the Obscene Publications Act.

A publishing attorney can evaluate or vet your manuscript, and suggest ways to mitigate or avoid many of risks of writing about real people and actual events.

A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Using Real People in a Story

In the most plaintiff-friendly decisions, the courts have said that a jury need only determine whether "the libel designates the plaintiff in such a way as to let those who knew him understand that he was the person meant.

Let your readers come to their own conclusions. Also, being sued may make you unmarketable to publishers in the future. So write your story as it needs to be written.

Keeping it Real: A Rough Guide to Using Real People As Fictional Characters

Instead, being served with a lawsuit alleging defamation or invasion of privacy would cause most writers to become physically ill — especially self-published authors who do not have a traditional publisher to help defend them, or may not have an insurance policy to pay the defense bill.

If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

Real person fiction

But although some of the RPF stories got circulated through fanzines, most writers kept their stories to themselves and were unaware of others doing the same thing until the s when RPF became popular on the internet. Libel law is fact specific. For a novel, or other fictional work, to be actionable, its detail must be convincing.

Those kinds of elements in your story are generic and do not serve to identify particular individuals. Taking the second question first, the answer is probably yes.

Then will you be better able to mask your character and make it universal.Sep 03,  · Is Real People FanFiction OK or Bad? Updated on August 1, Kara Skinner. However, the fanfiction writers didn't know they were writing about real people, and not just characters from paranormal books.

Real People Fiction has even been known to be used with the celebrities' permission to possibly help their career. In the Reviews: 5. Real person fiction or real people fiction (RPF) is a genre of writing similar to fan fiction, but featuring celebrities or other real people.

In the past, terms such as actorfic were used to distinguish such stories from those based on fictional characters from movies or television series. A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Using Real People in a Story Note from Nick: This is a guest post submission that brings up an interesting (often forgotten) point: there could be legal issues regarding using “real life” people, namesakes, etc.

in your story. Good fiction tells stories about people. And some of the best stories are real ones, actually lived by actual persons.

Not only are many real stories interesting, but audiences want to read about "real" stories even more than they want to read pure fiction. That's why so many stories -- and here we. responses to “How to Use Real People in Your Writing Without Ending Up in Court” I am sure I could be sued because I name real people, but it is fiction and freedom of the speech should trump anyone’s feelings being hurt.

Using Other Real People in Your Story Ordinary people like your best friend, cool uncle or crazy neighbor, have greater rights to privacy than celebrities. If you’re writing fiction, keep it fiction.

(if you use celebrities and other real people in your fiction), you may have reason to be more concerned about potential liability.

Writing about real people in fiction
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