« Wouldn't Have Happened If He'd Married a Black Girl... | Main | Here's How She Does It »

August 18, 2004


Jim Winter

I don't think so. Amalgrams are just that, and it's amazing how many people scream that they had their lives ripped off by an author. One guy I know was asked if he'd testify in a lawsuit against Dick Francis. The Plaintiff claimed that one of Francis' characters was based on HER life, and never mind that the character was English and male. She was Canadian and had nothing to do with horse racing.

Occasionally, I will base a character on someone I know, but that lasts about two scenes. The character always takes on a life of his or her own. Besides, the most interesting characters are completely invented from scratch.


I think the funniest story was from a friend who wrote a mystery and was confronted by someone who asked why she'd been so mean about using her as a negative character. It had never entered my friend's mind that this character was based on the co-worker; the only thing they had in common, as i recall, was hair color.
And characters I've created in my "mystery in a drawer" are certainly amalgams. I think that's how you writers ensure that the characters have some reality - by basing some things on real life.
And I've saved ALL Alina's emails where she passed on skating gossip and confirmed my suspicions, or clarified who was WHOM in her first mystery. I love that stuff, and I did know several of the skaters, although not so much about the coaches. I still cherish knowing who several folks are based on in Aunt Dimity's Death since i was there (ok, NOT in England, but I know the author and know some of the models).


Looking at James Winters post I have to comment that now everyone makes things up, some people just tell it as it is. If anyone else has had their lives used to make a best selling novel without their prior knowledge or consent, especially Dick Francis I would love to hear from them. Go to my website if you want to know more of what I am talking about. Yours, never give in, Linda

The comments to this entry are closed.