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Guidelines For Writing About People

When it comes to writing about people, this is another area in which you must exercise caution.  If you are writing about people, you should probably have their permission to do so.  If the person you are writing about is a private individual and you write something derogatory, you may find yourself in a lawsuit.  Different rules apply to public individuals.  The trick is to know the difference between public and private.

If you are writing fiction about characters completely made up in your mind, make certain they truly bear no resemblance to anyone alive.  You should be able to make that claim you often see in the beginning or at the end of a movie: the characters and events in this story are completely fictional and any resemblance to living persons or events is purely coincidental.

If you do a little research on the author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, you will find she enjoyed great success with her book, The Yearling.  It was made into a major motion picture starring Gregory Peck. After her success with The Yearling, she wrote about her friends and neighbors in the sleepy little town of Cross Creek, Florida in her book, Cross Creek.  Her neighbors did not receive this manuscript well.  It is an interesting story every writer should take the time to read.

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