Join us again at Week 17 in our Blog Challenge Blog Hop with Marketing for Romance Writers. This is like a topic I replied to in 2018 about using our friends, family, or fur babies in our books. Last year’s post gives an explanation of how I might use the idea of a friend or family member in a book.
The topic for 2019, is:
Week 17: Putting “real” people into stories. The pros and cons.
You’ve heard about authors teasing and saying something like: “You better watch it or I’ll put you in my book and _____. Fill in the blank.
Is it teasing? 😉
Face it. Real people are quirky, fun, weird, hilarious, sexy, silly, so on and so forth, and they can make great characters for the right story. They say no two people are alike. (They who?) Why wouldn’t an author want to use a real person as a character in a novel? I’m not saying if I have or haven’t, but I like to use my characters as they come to me.
On that note, I have written my “real” dog into a series with her characteristics and personality.
If using a real person, the character would be easy and difficult to write because we’d know how said person reacted in certain circumstances, both negatively and positively, but because we know, does that give us the right to write it?
If we don’t tell them we’ve used them, then we can play around with their persona anyway we want by adding or taking away from their personality. If the person we use reads the story and suspects it’s them, we don’t have to admit it to them. Do we? I told my doggie. She approved. ❤
Even if we don’t use a “real” person in a story, a friend or family member might suspect a book character is them even if it isn’t.
If we keep this little secret to ourselves, we can disguise them by combining personalities and characteristics from more than one person, and our imagination.
If we tell them we used them in a book:
Telling them wouldn’t allow us any leeway in writing their character, and we wouldn’t want to write them negatively. It wouldn’t be fair to our book character if we had to create them using specific rules to avoid hurting the “real” person. (Unless we hated them and didn’t care, I guess.)
Who sees themselves as other people do? We could offend them if they think the character isn’t who they are. Heaven forbid, they could sue us if their character had been used negatively.
I’m reminded of an episode of Blue Bloods on TV where the Police Commissioner’s partner from way back, wrote a tell-all book from their early career when they were young and new on the force. However, Frank Reagan read the book before publication. The antics the partner wrote would reflect badly on the department and Frank as the Police Commissioner. He threatened to sue if the book came out. It’s “TV” but this happens in real life.
What if a best friend decided to write a tell-all book including us? This brings up another question: Is writing nonfiction using real people different from writing them as a fictional character? I say, hell yes.
If you used a real person in your story, would you tell them?
Join the others participating in this week’s topic. Find the link to their blogs on the main Blog Page.
Authors, I’m so sorry I haven’t been around to most of your blogs to comment on your challenge posts. You all know what’s it’s like while finishing books. I’ve tried to tweet, but Twitter and I are almost like strangers now. One book is close to going to the editor, so I will catch up.
Have a nice weekend.
Would you believe snow is forecasted here? The local weatherman swears it won’t stick other than on grass. We’ll see.