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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Using real names

   
Author Topic: Using real names
tnwilz
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Deleted

[This message has been edited by tnwilz (edited September 19, 2008).]


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extrinsic
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Public figures are fair game as long as no malicious intent to defame, libel, or slander them is published, and by published in the law that means conveyed to another party, vocally or in writing. For more details, Wikipedia has a comprehensive article under Defamation about what is and what is not actionable.
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Robert Nowall
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You can use them so long as they're not "in" the story. Further away, say when they're long dead, you can use them outright. (At least in the USA.)

I'm a little leery of novels that have a whole bunch of real people as characters. It seems a lot of them wind up saying and doing things that, I think, they wouldn't ever have said or done. (This can get really bad in alternate history---a dubious enterprise at best---where the characters often wind up in situations where they would never go.)


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Christine
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You could definitely use any of your examples. I don't know the legalize here, but basically as long as you're not slandering anyone, you're fine.

Also, you are free to refer to businesses, books, TV shows, and characters therein.

For example: "The boy kind of reminded her of Harry Potter."

"They grabbed a burger from McDonald's." (You are even free to give your opinions about the quality of said burger.)


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aspirit
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quote:
"Sally had voted for Bill Clinton the last time"

Remember that references to real people, especially politicians, may date your story. If your story were to survive ten years, young readers may wonder what Sally's voting for Bill Clinton is supposed to mean.


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Grant John
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If the book lasts the ages then there can be footnotes or endnotes like in Austen or Shakespeare.

1. Bill Clinton was the 43rd President of the U.S.A
2. The U.S.A was a country on Earth


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