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Writing people into books

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments I stumbled across an interesting question on Twitter earlier and thought I would pose it here

Do you think it appropriate to write someone who has done you wrong, or merely annoyed you, into a book/film or song and do something unpleasant (possibly even murder) to them?

Full disclosure: When I was much younger I did write an ex into one of my books and kill her (she got shot in the back) whereas now I can't really be bothered with it.

I know it is something that has been done by many people in the past, including the likes of Shakespeare (I'm sure I read that somewhere) Mozart (his dad featured as a dark figure in one of his operas) and even Eminem (Stan, obviously, a very dark song written about his ex, whom some people thought was dead as a result of the song) but is it really appropriate to do anymore. And if you do it, is it better to open about it or do it in a subtle fashion?


message 2: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments I would. I just wouldn’t admit to it.


message 3: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments In fact I already have. But I won’t say who or what I did to them.


message 4: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments D.J. wrote: "In fact I already have. But I won’t say who or what I did to them."

Lol, probably best. If you reveal who it is they might sue you.


message 5: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments Exactly. Although there was an episode of one of the Law and Orders featuring a character who was a child abuser. The character even looked like Michael Jackson and the story was definitely written to make you think Michael Jackson. I was amazed they got away with it.


message 6: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments D.J. wrote: "Exactly. Although there was an episode of one of the Law and Orders featuring a character who was a child abuser. The character even looked like Michael Jackson and the story was definitely written..."

I suppose if he was already dead by the time the episode came out it's easier to get away with it


message 7: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4603 comments Mod
I make hybrids so nobody is recognizable, but all my characters are based on parts of people's personalities.


message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Carole wrote: "I make hybrids so nobody is recognizable, but all my characters are based on parts of people's personalities."

That's a good way of doing it.


message 9: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments He wasn’t dead at the time, Alex. That’s why I was amazed they got away with it.


message 10: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments D.J. wrote: "He wasn’t dead at the time, Alex. That’s why I was amazed they got away with it."

That was a risky one on their part then. I wouldn't have wanted to chance it. Could have cost them big time.


message 11: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments I suppose there is the theory if you see yourself in something like that there must be some element of truth to the story in order for you to recognise yourself in the first place. Bullies don’t always recognise themselves though. In their minds they never do anything wrong.


message 12: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments D.J. wrote: "I suppose there is the theory if you see yourself in something like that there must be some element of truth to the story in order for you to recognise yourself in the first place. Bullies don’t al..."

Very true. And that's probably how people get away with some depictions of people from their lives, they trust to the 'bully' not recognising a character based on them even if it's obvious.


message 13: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1734 comments I imagine my characters are made up of bits and pieces of people I've encountered, but I wouldn't do something like that intentionally. That's just me, though. I don't think it does a person any good to be vindictive.


message 14: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments I’ve found there’s no justice in the real world for things I’ve been through. So I use writing as therapy in a very childish ‘they started it’ way.


message 15: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments D.J. wrote: "I’ve found there’s no justice in the real world for things I’ve been through. So I use writing as therapy in a very childish ‘they started it’ way."

That was what I said on the Twitter thread that prompted this question. Some therapists/counsellors/psychiatrists recommend writing the death of someone who has wrong us to help gain closure.

I find it easier to put being wronged behind me now than I used to. I can't forget, and I don't think it could be said that I forgive, but I do try and not think about it.


message 16: by D.J. (last edited Jul 25, 2018 01:32PM) (new)

D.J. Cooper | 1028 comments I didn't realise counsellors did that. I feel vindicated. I don't forgive either. For me forgiveness would mean that I was OK with what happened to me and I will never be OK with what I've been through. So why forgive the people who caused that harm? It only makes them feel better. I'm still at the anger stage. I'm quite enjoying it. It's nice now I'm finally free to deal with the trauma because some of the people who were part of the problem are no longer breathing. If I'd made a fuss earlier I would have been accused of attention seeking and causing their illnesses.


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments D.J. wrote: "I didn't realise counsellors did that. I feel vindicated. I don't forgive either. For me forgiveness would mean that I was OK with what happened to me and I will never be OK with what I've been thr..."

I don't think all therapists recommend it, I guess it depends on the therapist and whether you're a writer. If you're a painter they might recommend that.

If they did you harm, why shouldn't you have caused their illness, seems reasonable to me, lol.


message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Sounds like you had the right idea, Ann, you got your feelings out, shared it with someone who could appreciate it for what it was, and then made sure it could never hurt anyone. Perfect.


message 19: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 84 comments Legally it is so tricky but this time I have used one really mad man's exploits but he's disguised!


message 20: by Anna (last edited Aug 14, 2018 12:57AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1139 comments I sometimes use the names of people I regard as 'unsung heroes' and put them in as similar people in my books. They're usually still unsung because no one recognizes them!

If I use living people - people I'd like to thank - I think it is important to ask first. I've 'knighted' one guy whose website is helpful, with his permission, of course.

I've heard that nasties never recognize themselves which is probably good news for us all.


message 21: by Dale (last edited Aug 14, 2018 06:28AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1734 comments I just committed one of these yesterday (mentioning a real person). This is the sort of thing one can do without worry, though:

Melody's face scrunched into a fair imitation of Jack Nicholson enjoying a homicidal rampage.


message 22: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1139 comments Nice one!


message 23: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1734 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Nice one!"

Thank you!


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