Guilty or not guilty?

"All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

This is a typical statement in the front matter of works of fiction, though in my books I add the words "or somewhere in-between" because the odd necromancer pops up from time to time and dabbles in raising the dead, (the ones with flesh still on the bone are really smelly).

But is this statement actually true? How many writers base a character on someone they know just so they can have the satisfaction of killing them off in some grisly and gruesome fashion?

So with the pen being mightier than the sword, how do you plead, guilty or not guilty of literary murder with malice aforethought?

DM

Comments

  • MaggieMaggie Creator
    Guilty.

    You are telling a necessary lie to protect yourself from being sued by anyone who thinks they see a resemblance.
    __________________________
    * Print Book and Ebook Formatting Services http://www.custom-book-tique.com/

  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    Some of my characters are partly based on real persons, but they are remolded to fit in the story.
  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    edited June 13
    In Concombre en Absurdistan, I recalled campus anecdotes dating back from the time when I was a student in Lille, France. I didn't always remember whom was concerned by some. I created a fictitious character, a Flemish named Ken Tucky, and attributed to him all the events described in the loose-sheet anecdotes although these were originally about several different persons. The funny thing is that a real guy swore he was the one described in them, although this was impossible because I made his acquaintance a couple of years after the events related.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    I can't think of too many of my characters who are not based at least in part on real people...but I am naming no names!

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    potetjp said:
    In Concombre en Absurdistan, I recalled campus anecdotes dating back from the time when I was a student in Lille, France. I didn't always remember whom was concerned by some. I created a fictitious character, a Flemish named Ken Tucky, and attributed to him all the events described in the loose-sheet anecdotes although these were originally about several different persons. The funny thing is that a real guy swore he was the one described in them, although this was impossible because I made his acquaintance a couple of years after the events related.
    Just out of curiosity, I have always wondered what you call a person from Flanders who speaks Flemish. A Flem? A Flam? A Floon?

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    In French, we say un Flamand / une Flamande. In Dutch, they say een Vlaming with the <v> pronounced [f].
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Oh great! I can say that he is a Flaming. That'll go over big.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    But how do they say it in Flemish?

    As for characters, well, I plead the fifth amendment. The best characters draw from reality, to be sure. Part of the author's craft is to blend the real and the unreal, to make the character less than unique while maintaining the strong qualities of the person from whom the image is drawn. And that poses problems for us, of course.

    To make a character who is completely unlike every living human in every possible respect is impossible, at least if we want people to relate to the character. And that's the key: To be a good character, people have to believe that such a character might exist.

    That limits us. There are real things that happen which might be funny or poignant but which we cannot use because we cannot separate the person from the story. And that is why it is often said that fact is stranger than fiction.
  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    Oh great! I can say that he is a Flaming. That'll go over big.
    Sorry, I don't quite understand. What is a "Flaming"?
  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    edited June 15
    Skoob_ym said:
    But how do they say it in Flemish?
    In Dutch, they say een Vlaming with the <v> pronounced [f].
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    potetjp said:
    Oh great! I can say that he is a Flaming. That'll go over big.
    Sorry, I don't quite understand. What is a "Flaming"?
    Trigger Warning:

    It is crude slang in English to refer to homosexuals as "Flaming" or "Flamers." It is very rude and very unkind slang. It derives from the idea that they burn like branches pulled from a fire ("flaming faggots" in the English of a century ago). To speak of someone as a "Flamer" or as "Flaming" would impute homosexuality and imply very great contempt for the person. Thus Ron would not wish to use a term ("flamande") that might be confused with such slang.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    potetjp said:
    Skoob_ym said:
    But how do they say it in Flemish?
    In Dutch, they say een Vlaming with the <v> pronounced [f].
    I may be mistaken, but I understood the Flems to be a people group within the Dutch.

    English, Dutch, and German are all said to derive from the older Flemish language.
  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    Skoob_ym said:
    potetjp said:
    Oh great! I can say that he is a Flaming. That'll go over big.
    Sorry, I don't quite understand. What is a "Flaming"?
    Trigger Warning:

    It is crude slang in English to refer to homosexuals as "Flaming" or "Flamers." 

    Oh, I see! I knew "a flaming faggot", but "a Flaming" was so ambiguous because I had never seen it used as a noun, and the adjective "flaming" can qualify a lot of things or even be used as an adverb, e.g. flaming stupid. 
  • potetjppotetjp Teacher
    Skoob_ym said:


    I may be mistaken, but I understood the Flems to be a people group within the Dutch.
    English, Dutch, and German are all said to derive from the older Flemish language.
    The Flemish live in Belgium; their regional capital is Antwerpen / Anvers. The (federal) capital of Belgium is Brussels / Bruxelles. The other half of Belgium is la Wallonie; Walloons / les Wallons speak French; their regional capital is Namur. In conformity with what I call arct-hubris (northern vainglory), the Flemish regard themselves as superior to the Walloons.
    The Flemish live in Flanders / Flandre(s) / Vlanderen, and Flanders spread beyond the border with the North of France (Dunkirk, Hazebrouck, etc.). Flemish people are the same race as the Dutch, and their language is the same, except that Dutch has many dialects so that a Flemish from Doornick / Tournai may not understand a Dutch from the island of Heligoland and vice versa. The written language is the same; the major Flemish newspaper, De Telegraaf, can be understood by all Dutch speakers. 
    Dutch, English and German are Germanic languages whose common ancestor is Proto-Germanic. Generally Flemish students are good at English and German, but not very good at French. Conversely Walloon students are good at Spanish or Italian, but not very good at Dutch, English or German.
  • SeamusSeamus Creator
    wow, that thread took a turn
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • Your telling me.

    DM
  • Sorry, you're telling me.

    DM
Sign In or Register to comment.