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scottishpunk
03-23-2010, 03:39 AM
In the movie A Knight's Tale, Chaucer spits out this threat.

"I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity."

I've joked before that one has to be careful what one says around a writer, because it may wind up in print someday, and not in a flattering way. I'm not generally a vindictive person, but there are times in my writing where I base characters and situations on people who have wronged me in the past. For example, a harsh insult (something so cold I couldn't make it up) from someone I once knew is uttered by the antagonist in my WIP. I admit, a certain part of me warms a little at the thought of the slim possibility of her reading her own words someday...

Am I psychotic, or is this normal behavior? Do any of you turn past enemies/ insults into rich story material? Do you keep a fiction hit-list?

willietheshakes
03-23-2010, 05:58 AM
Am I psychotic, or is this normal behavior?

You do realize this isn't an either/or question, right? It's possible for this to be both psychotic AND normal behaviour (for a psychotic)...

I prefer to think of that combination as "writerly".

dolores haze
03-23-2010, 06:00 AM
I've got someone on my (s)hit list right now.

*gnashes teeth*

scarletpeaches
03-23-2010, 06:02 AM
I am so far above this sort of behaviour.

*coughbollockscough*

ishtar'sgate
03-23-2010, 06:20 AM
Do any of you turn past enemies/ insults into rich story material? Do you keep a fiction hit-list?
Oh, everything is grist for my mill. I use it all. Not so much to 'eviscerate' my enemies but feelings are useful sources of motivation and anything that whips me up into a frenzy is worth dissecting for use in a novel.

Birol
03-23-2010, 06:40 AM
I am so far above this sort of behaviour.

*coughbollockscough*

I knew it. You eviscerate me in your fiction don't you? :cry:

scarletpeaches
03-23-2010, 06:50 AM
I wouldn't dare. I know which side my electric cattle-prod's buttered.

Chris P
03-23-2010, 06:54 AM
When the CEO of the corporation in my WIP takes ill and begins to lose his mind I pattern him after my current boss. We're all wondering how long it will be before he says the wrong thing to the right person. We've been waiting a while, giving my tons of material.

I try not to be too direct in squishing people like a bug. I use them for my own purposes whenever I can, but in the end what I put in the book needs to be about the book and not a hidden vendetta (which is what journals are for!)

Matera the Mad
03-23-2010, 07:47 AM
i iz killah

My first vengeful act was putting a virtual image of someone I used to work with in some embarrassing situations in a fan-fic that I knew he would never read. Since then I have carefully genericized a few other people who have ticked me off. Nothing new under the sun; one has to base one's characters on personal experience.

dgiharris
03-23-2010, 11:17 AM
I think it's human nature.

I tend to picture certain people in my head when i'm coming up with Villians.

God willing, they will be the source of ridicule for many many years when my book is published.

I know, it's petty to get revenge on someone in this sort of manner. I should be a bigger person, take the high road, and forgive and forget.

Unfortunately, revenge just feels too good. I mean, the thought of immortalizing the shitheads in my life in true South Park fashion fills me with so much joy it is all I can do to not run out into the streets singing It's A Wonderful Life.

And of course, everyone around them will know I was writing about them :)

Ohhhhhh..... The hate feels sooooo good. Like sitting in a log cabin by a warm toasty fire while it snows outside.

Mel...

Terie
03-23-2010, 11:45 AM
I had a bully boss once. She sacked me from a writing job for 'poor written communication skills'...and then she was sacked a few months later for total imcompetence. Anyway. I twisted around her first and last names and gave them to bad guys in my (*coughpublishedcough*) YA series. Petty? Yeah, probably. But it still feels good! :D

thethinker42
03-23-2010, 11:48 AM
Oh, I have a few names on my list. And I guarantee no one will ever have the faintest idea who I'm referring to...but I'll know, and it will make me happy.

Incidentally, I recently decided that an acquaintance of mine is such an insufferable dickhead, I must write him into a novel as someone who meets a grisly end. I've run into a dilemma, though.

I'm not agonizing over whether or not it's ethical to kill him in effigy, nor am I concerned that I'm being petty, or that someone will know, or that he'll ever find out.

No, my only dilemma is whether he should be dragged behind a train or mauled by a water buffalo.

Terie
03-23-2010, 12:52 PM
No, my only dilemma is whether he should be dragged behind a train or mauled by a water buffalo.

Dudette! You write erotica and you can't think of any more horrible way for a dickhead (ahem) to die than being dragged behind a train or mauled by a water buffalo???!!!

thethinker42
03-23-2010, 01:02 PM
Dudette! You write erotica and you can't think of any more horrible way for a dickhead (ahem) to die than being dragged behind a train or mauled by a water buffalo???!!!

That's just how he'll die. I didn't mention everything that'll happen to him in the 17 chapters leading up to his death.

Bartholomew
03-23-2010, 01:28 PM
All characters depicted in my novels are my property.

These characters and events are fictional and any resemblance to persons living, dead,
or fictional or situations past, present, or fictional is purely and completely coincidental.

This is the only response you ever, ever give, even if your six-nosed, ever-drooling poop-beast is, indeed, based on your boss. Admiting otherwise now, and then hitting the big time later makes you a target for a libel lawsuit.

Brukaviador
03-23-2010, 01:56 PM
I must be the weird one here because I have never had the desire to write somebody I know into my work.

I'm sure that some character's personality traits are subconsciously affected by the people I've met in my life, that's unavoidable, but transposing someone's entire personality into my works strikes me as a terrible idea, especially for revenge purposes. It isn't just the threat of a libel lawsuit either; I think it would negatively impact the writing. If I have some beef with someone, I'm pretty sure that putting it in my story would read that way. Maybe others can be more artful about it but I just prefer to keep my fiction as fiction and leave my grudges off the page.

On a related note, I have read a few agents blogs that specifically state they don't want to see exactly what's being discussed here. Again, some writers may be more artful in disguising it but if you're getting too personal in your tale of revenge it may be possible that the agent can tell.

Terie
03-23-2010, 03:13 PM
I'm sure that some character's personality traits are subconsciously affected by the people I've met in my life, that's unavoidable, but transposing someone's entire personality into my works strikes me as a terrible idea, especially for revenge purposes.

Yep. You're right. It's a terrible idea, and uncreative in the extreme.

To clarify, all I did was mangle someone's names into something else virtually unrecognisable unless you knew the inside scoop and give them to bad guys. The bad guys bore no other resemblance to the individual. For one thing, both of them were a hell of a lot smarter. And better looking. And the other gender (and one of a different race). And had totally different personality traits. And, well, were characters I made up just like any others. Trust me, this woman was so stupid and boring that to create a major antagonist out of her whole-cloth would be to kill one's story. :D

I don't think anyone here is suggesting that a writer copy wholesale from a real-life person. Doing that isn't a good idea at all. But it doesn't mean we can't play around a bit with a single particular aspect of a person. That's really what character building is anyway....taking one trait from a neighbour, another from an old school mate, another from the corner-store clerk, and so on, and mashing them all up into a fictional character.

Broadswordbabe
03-23-2010, 04:21 PM
I've put a version of a real pain-in-the-butt person into fiction more than once in order to have something vengeful happen to them. It's very satisfying and considerably healthier than either stewing helplessly over their behaviour, or resorting to non-fictional violence. These characters don't have to be recogniseable to anyone but you in order to achieve the desired effect, after all; and you can find that they turn into something much more interesting once you start writing them.

And Anne Lamott's advice on this sort of thing is if you want to avoid (male) aquaintances suing you for basing a character on them; first change their name, profession, hair colour, etc; then give the fictional character a teeny, erm, endowment...

swvaughn
03-23-2010, 04:35 PM
Meh. I don't eviscerate real people in fiction. Real people are so petty, pedantic, and passive-aggressive, that translating their actions onto the page makes for a boring bit of conflict.

(Not that I'm calling any of you fine people petty, pedantic or passive-aggressive, of course :D)

I prefer to eviscerate real people in real life. Now, if only someone would piss me off enough to eviscerate them...:evil

heyjude
03-23-2010, 04:51 PM
My poor dear hubby was so angry at someone last week he could barely see straight. The guy was blowing a multi-million dollar deal for the company. Dh wanted to strangle him.

So I used the guy's name and beat him mercilessly in a book (oh, and shot him a time or two). Surprising, how happy it made dh. :D I'll change the name later, but for now everyone's happy.

Phaeal
03-23-2010, 06:40 PM
Nah, I plan to avenge myself on THOSE PEOPLE by slowly but surely destroying their lives until, at last, THEY ARE MINE. Gail Wynand is my hero. Muhahahahahaha....

scarletpeaches
03-23-2010, 06:44 PM
I'll tell you what was fun. Running into an ex boyfriend (sadly not with a bus) and hearing him ask, "So. You gonna put me in your next book then?"

I smiled sweetly and said, "No, dear. You're not that interesting."

Phaeal
03-23-2010, 09:10 PM
Yeah, that's the ultimate insult.

scottishpunk
03-23-2010, 10:57 PM
All characters depicted in my novels are my property.

These characters and events are fictional and any resemblance to persons living, dead,
or fictional or situations past, present, or fictional is purely and completely coincidental.

This is the only response you ever, ever give, even if your six-nosed, ever-drooling poop-beast is, indeed, based on your boss. Admiting otherwise now, and then hitting the big time later makes you a target for a libel lawsuit.

You make a good point. I think that if one wants to use real experiences, subtlety and extreme caution are the key. In my WIP, the situation and the character uttering the quote bear nothing in common with the actual event.

I also agree with the person who said that a vendetta should never be exercised upon if it diminishes the story one is writing.

LuckyH
03-24-2010, 12:43 AM
I write what I know, like most other people, and the characters Iíve come across will inevitably appear on the pages. Theyíre usually composites, real life people are too boring; but when Iím describing them, I have a real person in mind.

It has led to trouble, at least once to my knowledge. One of my former best friends hasnít spoken to me for ten years after he recognised himself in a book I had written. On reflection, I had made him too recognisable and concentrated on a flaw in his character. Iíve regretted it ever since.

I did it not with any spitefulness in mind, but realised my stupidity when he turned his back on me, and it made me feel like a traitor.

Claudia Gray
03-25-2010, 10:30 PM
Absolutely not. My writing brings me joy and escape; why would I drag people I dislike into that?

Shadow_Ferret
03-26-2010, 01:41 AM
Do any of you turn past enemies/ insults into rich story material? Do you keep a fiction hit-list?

Yes, and I have the T-shirt to prove it.