Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are You Writing Me Into Your Book?

This weekend I diligently worked on my books while I was in attendance at my daughter's softball game. Since my computer battery envies the lifespan of a lightning bug and my Alpha Smart cord has gone to the computer junk yard, I was writing by hand again.

People often make comments when they see me writing. Perhaps it would be different if I had my computer or my Alpha Smart instead of a cheap pad of paper and pen. Maybe not.

Most of the comments are probably meant to be friendly and joking, but occasionally they seem condescending. I'm not usually one to speak my mind and I usually keep the peace, but enough's enough.

One of the team fathers asked, "Are you writing about me?"

He was probably teasing. WHY would I write about someone I barely know?

But I said, "Why? Do you want me to?" (I've had more than a few people who want me to write their story.)

He shook his head, chuckled and said, "No!"

I almost said, tongue not so in cheek, "Only if you make me mad."

Unfortunately, that might be true.

It's not a good practice to write about people you know. You can be sued and fired, maybe even shot for doing something like that. At most, you might make a composite of several people you know or have observed, to create a single character.

But sometimes, when someone infuriates me, in particular when they're very mean to me, I'm ultra tempted to make them my villain and do lots of dastardly things to them in my books that I could never do to them in real life, at least not if I don't want to go to the deepest levels of hell and get locked in Alcatraz for the rest of my days.

So now you know my deepest, darkest secret--I'm human. Or maybe I'm an extremely wicked person. Somehow, however, I doubt I'm the only writer who has tortured or killed off their villain(s) to work out real aggressions.

So bwahahahaha! If you don't want to be in my book, don't piss me off. If you do want to be in my books, piss me off. Now you're warned. :)

Recent posts you might like to read:

Dont Give Up Too Early

Snippet Saturday: Kick Ass Heroes and Heroines
Nudists on Strike
Kudos to Harlequin  (It's their anniversary month - lots of free books if you hurry)
Kenzie Michaels Guest Interview
Twitter Works Do You Really Want To Post That?


You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook,
Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch,
Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape
are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)


Linda Kage said...

I always feel guilty when someone asks me if I write about people I know, because I don't. I thought you were supposed to write about things you know. But now, I feel reassured that I shouldn't. I dont particularly want to be sued, fired, or shot! Thanks.

Molly Daniels said...

I'm writing my current wip based on an idea someone threw at me a month ago. When I'm finished with a chapter, I send it to him for approval, and so far he's loving it:) Yes, it started out based loosely on what he's gone through in the past years, but the character has evolved and he loves his 'fictional life':)

And yes...I'm guilty of basing the 'villians' in my books on those who've wronged me. My dad laughed when he read my 1st published work; the father is unusually strict, and he thought it was relating back to an incident when I was 14! In actuality, the character was based on a neighbor who bad-mouthed me because of jealousy. It had nothing to do with my issues with my father, although there were some similarities! So maybe I unconsciously added him in as well???

Unknown said...

Yes, Linda, it's good to write about things and situations and places we know. However, it's not good to write about specific people. Even situations need care if it relates closely to a person you know. Have you ever notice how all (at least most) published works has a blurg near the front that says the publisher has no knowledge that events or people described in the book are real? They're legally protecting themselves from lawsuits.

Unknown said...

Molly, I think sometimes we're influenced by things subconsciously and they come out in our writing. I also think some people see themselves in every situation (at least I know a couple like that).

As long as we make it enough different, we should be safe. That said, if a family member or close friend is bothered by it, sometimes it might be worthwhile to change it even more.

Unknown said...

I've had only one friend ask me to write about her. She wants to be one of the heroines in my books so she can have sex. Ummm, NO THANK YOU. That's just too weird for me.

Now killing her off in one of my books, that could work! LOL Guess I'm just as evil as you. ;)

Unknown said...

I always write about people I know - makes it more real

The Redhead Riter said...

That's hilarious. When you said you were mean, I imagined the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz sitting at Dorothy's softball game, alternately writing in her book and a disappearing into green smoke!

Clare Revell said...

I have an LJ icon tht says
"Anything you say will be taken down and used by a character in my novel."

The Bumbles said...

Oh I think it's OK to incorporate mannerisms or experiences here and there - combining them into one character - has the personality of your nice neighbor, but the style of your friend with the good job, and the temper of that boss that you hated. No one needs to know and I think it would be liberating to kill off that bully from elementary school ;0)

Lisa Pietsch said...

Every once in a while, I'll have a military friend ask if they can be somebody cool in one of my books. (I'm known to have lots of very interesting men in my books.) Since I write more action than sex, I usually tweak the name and make them a hero of some sort.

People who piss me off also have their name tweaked and then DIE. :-)

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