Author Topic: Question in reguards to being an author  (Read 4941 times)


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Question in reguards to being an author
« on: September 15, 2012, 07:28:48 am »
First of, Big fan. :)

Read the entire Alpha & Omega series as well as Mercy Thompson. Just picked up the Masques book to.

But on to the question, as an author you likely have gotten inspiration to your characters from people you have met in real life. And i am curious as to what the protocol is there, do you need any legal permission to base the character deeply upon them? Or just a polite question to them in private?

Been working on a book of my own and any tips or advice you could give would be richly appreciated. :)

Mike Briggs

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Re: Question in reguards to being an author
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 09:24:09 pm »
Wow, I'm sorry that we're so late in answering so many questions.  Sigh -- I'll take a stab at this one.  Remember, I'm not an author, but I hang around them all the time and listen to them talk shop.

Patty has drawn inspiration from real people.  If you want to write believable characters you kind of have to study people, and figure out what makes them tick.  I've never been able to do that (thus I'd be a terrible author!).  However, basing a character too deeply on a real person can be problematical.  You run the risk of either having to make the character a Mary Sue, or offending the person you based the character on.  I've also read books where a character is too-obviously based on a popular figure and I find it really pulls me out of the story.

So, with a couple of exceptions, Patty doesn't usually base her characters on real people.  It's a little bit like composing music.  Let's say you REALLY like the Beatles, "Hard Days Night", and you listen to it over and over.  When you start composing, you're likely to be borrowing the melody or at least the chord progression.  You're new composition: "Honey, I'm Home from Work, Let's Make Love!" is probably going to have recognizable origins.  To avoid that, you listen to LOTS of music, and learn all about modes and scales and chord progressions.  You may still "borrow", but you'll steal bits and pieces from hundreds of artists, and make something entirely new.

That's what Patty (and most authors) try to do with people.  Mix-n-match.  Bob's big bulbous nose, Freds habit of running around with his shoes untied, and George's big, booming laugh.  The resulting character is likely to be more interesting to read about than any of the sources, and because you've filed off the serial numbers, it's much harder to trace.
On the other hand, if you ARE going to base a character on someone, it's definitely better to ask their permission, and probably do an interview or two so you get things right.  And, if you give their characters any flaws at all, be prepared for the fallout.   :o

Where's my super-suit?