Friday, November 20, 2009

Get in There, Before I Make a Dime Bank Out of You!



 Greetings to every last one of you! Yes, I'm including you! You know who you are! Greetings to you as well.

Rug Shop Day today, which was productive, in that I updated both the front page and the rug blog. It's always nice to be productive. Plus, it was Bring Most of Your Family to Work Day as well... and I was still productive! Go fig-ya!

But my fantasy novel is much on my mind. The "Big Scene" I set out to write last night needed a little transitioning to make it smooth... and the "transitioning" turned into a much larger event than I had anticipated... meaning, I wrote until 3am on the transition, without ever actually getting to the scene! I would have continued writing (the inspiration was there), but I knew I'd have to go into work today, so another couple hours was out of the question. I'll hit it again tonight.

On a related note, I'd like your advice...

Someone over in the Faithwriter's forum started a thread concerning the legality/propriety of using another actual person in a novel/story... this person wrote a Weekly Challenge entry that included another Faithwriter member as a character... her entry won first place, and suddenly she was worrying about whether she should have used her or not...

Anyway, I posted this in my reply:

I suppose I should pay attention to the answers in this thread... my current NaNoWriMo novel I'm writing is a fantasy epic that I loaded with just about everyone I know as characters in the book... I even put myself in there. I loved the idea of taking all these people I know, using their real first names, and their accurate personalities, and dropping them into a fantasy adventure... just seemed like fun (and it is)...

I never considered that maybe they'd have a problem with that....

So as a response, a member named Michele posted this reply...

In a nutshell, it's unwise. Even if it's legal, if it's people you actually know, it can get, um, ah, uncomfortable. People can get quite upset with how they perceive how you are portraying them. It can also wreak havoc or reflect poorly on any third party that is hosting your writing (like FWs, etc.).

I say this out of more experience than I care to possess. At the very least, change the names. Seriously. I'm serious.



Of course, this made me think. I never really considered the possibility that some people might not want to be featured in the book I'm writing. I planned on using real first names, and just dropping people, as I saw them, into a completely different environment, and just having fun with it, like role-playing, or acting together in a big play or some such. It's sort of my weird way of honoring the friendships we have, and doing something fun at the same time. The actions I have people doing, and things they are saying, might not be 100% what they would *really* do in *real life*, but I didn't think that would bug anyone...

So the question is, should I go individually to each person I plan on including in the book to see if he/she is ok with it? Should I change most or all of the names? Should I even worry about it? I mean, I'd hate for something I planned to be fun and inspirational actually turn out to be counterproductive, or even detrimental, to the friendships I'm trying to honor...

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it took a bit of the wind out of my sails... I'm sort of resolved, at least at this point, to continue as I am, at least until the first draft is done. But I covet your advice as well, especially those of you from church that I plan to include... are you ok with whatever I do with the characters that are based on you? Do you want to have an active say in what happens to your character, with the right to veto something if it doesn't agree with you for some reason?

Again, I just looked at it like we're all acting in an epic movie together, I never even considered that someone might not want to be involved...

So that's on my mind.

In fact, I think I'll leave it there for now. No sense derailing things for the sake of random filler. There'll be time for that tomorrow...

Until tomorrow, then, remember the Alamo...

6 comments:

Avari said...

Dave, it is ok to use my name and make me do whatever is funny or goes with plot or anything, even if I wouldn't normally do it. That will make it more interesting I think. And, it kinda gives fantasy to my life, I like it. You know because you are taking me and putting me in a fantasy novel so when I read it in a way I can "live" it. SOOO COOL! Even if it is something I wouldn't normally do, that is no big deal because for one then I can kinda do it without doing it lol, and for second, It would be just as if I was in one of your plays or something. Everything I act in your plays isn't always stuff I would personally do, ya know? It is kind of like we are acting in your book but the characters are mainly based on who we are... so you can make us do whateva you want. Because you are the author!

UHN! TAKE THAT!!!

Abbie said...

my two bits is this: i know it isn't the "real me" in your story, so if you use my name or my persona that doesn't bother me. But I could see someone being upset if you say, oh yeah, you are in my book! and they get all excited, then learn they are the wicked evil person that is scheming to take over the whole world. :P I guess God will have to give you the peace of mind for whatever path you feel is right :)

Good luck on your "scene" though!!

Vye said...

I agree with Shannon and Abbie.

When I first heard I was going to be in your book I had no expectations. It's your book, do with it as you please. I think it's neat you're trying to make the character like me but I also know anyone as boring as me would kill your story. So by all means, feel free to do what you want. I'll have fun reading it no matter what.

Oh, it is good to be King. :-D :-D :-D

Anonymous said...

You acted wisely in asking each individual, who is over 18, whether they would mind (under 18 - change the name). I would print their responses from this comment section and save them. Anyone who does not respond in print,preferably email, change the name. Unfortunately, we people can be people. Don't let it knock the wind out of your sail, just realize that by writing a book, you are entering the book "business." Didn't you ever wonder why at the beginning of some books it says something to the effect "The characters in this story are fictional and not based on any real person?" or some such thing?

David Wagner said...

I appreciate everyone's input, it's taken the edge off of my angst somewhat...

Really, my intentions for the story was not to try and get it published, other than maybe self-pub a copy or two to pass around to friend, for their own amusement. That doesn't mean I'm not trying to write the best possible adventure, but really, I was looking at it as more of a grand, fun writing exercise, hopefully to get me unstuck on my "other" novel, which I am taking seriously...

I'll continue to talk to people one on one to see what they think, and I'll swap out people and/or change names accordingly. Hopefully it will be clear to everyone that I meant this as a light-hearted fun diversion, and it doesn't get blown up into something it isn't...

Thanks again.

logankstewart said...

Hmm. I'd definitely check with everybody and ask. Or you could be really weird and change everyone's name to another name in the book, i.e. change Jason's (who is really named Jason) name to Todd (who is really named Todd) and change Todd's name to Steve (who is really named Steve) and change Steve's name to Jason.... you get the idea. Confusing fun all around!