Scary Stuff: Real-Life #Author Lawsuits You Should Know About

Perusing the various blogs I follow or use to stay in the know, I ran across the article below.  I remember the issue with the James Frey book, but the others not so much.  I guess I’ve been living in a bubble…or wishfully thinking.

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Writers get sued sometimes.   Other times, writers do the suing. And sometimes, even the reading public gets in on the (legal) action. If the thought of getting embroiled in a lawsuit makes a chill run down your spine, Writer’s Relief recommends that you read about these real-life literary lawsuits—and the lessons they impart to writers!

Literary Lawsuits And Court Cases Involving Creative Writers

A writer sues a literary agent: Harper Lee famously claimed that her literary agent convinced her to sign away the copyright of To Kill A Mockingbird after she suffered a stroke.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: Remember that you should never, ever sign away your copyright entirely. Most contracts only acquire a license to copyright for a limited amount of time.

A publisher is sued by readers: James Frey’s “memoir” A Million Little Pieces became notorious for its largely fictitious nature, and Random House paid tens of thousands of dollars in refunds.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: Even if elements of your book are based on real life or inspired by real events, know whether to call your book a novel or a memoir.

A writer is sued by another writer: A Swedish author pen-named John David California wrote a book imagining what J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caufield might be like in old age. And Salinger’s lawsuit kept the work from being published until Catcher in the Rye enters the public domain.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: If your book isn’t parody or commentary, and is instead a spin on an existing work, you might get in trouble for publishing it.

A writer is threatened by an organization: Author Tess Gerritsen decided that to make her novel about organ harvesting more believable, she would use the real name of the New England Organ Bank. For years, the threats of lawsuits plagued her.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: You might want to change the names of real organizations—but even that might not protect you from being sued.

A novelist is sued by a “lookalike”: Kathryn Stockett, writer of The Help, was sued by her brother’s maid, Ablene Cooper, for Stockett’s allegedly similar maid, Aibileen Clark. Ultimately the lawsuit was dismissed.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: Be aware of the dangers that come with writing a character based on a real-life person (intentionally or not).

A memoirist is sued by his “characters”: Author Augusten Burroughs’s memoir didn’t ring true for the people he was writing about. The author settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, with stipulations about no longer calling the work a memoir and issuing an apology to the family in future editions.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: Even if you think your memoir is perfectly true, other people might not agree—and that means you could be on the hook for libel.

A writer is sued by a random reader: A man claimed Jay-Z’s book Decoded incorporated a bunch of text from an allegedly stolen laptop.

THE LESSON FOR WRITERS: Even if you’re careful, someone can still sue you if they want to.

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets.  We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

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Describing Your Story: TaQuanda Taylor’s Insight on Grabbing the Reader

Hooking a potential reader can seem like a grueling task.  As TaQuanda pointed out, a writer does not want to say too much for fear that the consumer will have all they need and move on without making a purchase.  If there’s not enough, it can come across as confusing or uninteresting.  So what should one do?

TaQuanda’s template is a good start.  It provides a “fill in the blank” format that can be customized.  For further assistance with blurbs, check out this post.

 

The Official TaQuanda Taylor Site

Hey love-bugs,

How do you talk about your story without giving too much away and still giving enough information to make someone want to read it?

It’s tough.

You don’t want to say too much and you can’t say too little. If you don’t give people enough details to draw them in, they may not want to pick up your book. If you give them every detail from start to finish, they won’t pick up your book because what’s the point? You’ve told them everything. There’s no need to read the book now.

So you write a logline. If you do it right, it should sum up your story without giving up too much and keeping it short and sweet. But loglines are hard to write. You mean to tell me that I have to tell you about my story in just one sentence?
That’s impossible.

That’s what I’ve always…

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#MondayMotivation: #Encouragement for Every Dreamer

Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder…

Melanie V. Logan

It starts with a dream.

Add faith,
and it becomes a belief.
Add action,
and it becomes a part of life.
Add perseverance,
and it becomes a goal in sight.
Add patience and time,
and it ends
with a dream come true.

– Doe Zantamata

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#Diversity in #Writing

Diversity in a story makes it more realistic.  If you look at our world, you will see people from all walks of life.  Backgrounds and experiences just as similar and different as the sun is to the moon.

Also, the depth of a character’s makeup can be a learning experience for the reader.  At the very least, a cause to research and evolve so that what is foreign is now familiar.

Photo: Sharon Drummond Before You Even Knew You Wanted Them via photopin (license)


TheBoomCrunch

Diversity of characters, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of a story. I don’t just mean making your characters have distinct personalities. I’m talking race, gender, religion, sexuality, and much more.

Regardless of whether or not most stories are about straight white people (they are, at least the ones that get super popular), it is still important to have diversity.

The way I see it, good, well-researched diversity has two effects: it shows those people who identify with the character that they are not alone, and it educates those of us who have not experienced life the way the character and other people like the character have.

Now, there is something to say for not having diverse writing. I’ve seen people complain about how they always imagined their characters one way and then get upset when people suggest they make their stories more diverse. The response…

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#Writing Tip from the Desk of Cari Jehlik: Short #Stories

I’d love to get a handle on writing short stories.  I have at least twelve story ideas to develop, but the time to make them novels is unrealistic at this point. I will use these tips to assess which can be created in 5000 words or less.

Cari Jehlik

Short stories aren’t only a  genre and craft unto themselves, but they are also a fantastic means to practice new story elements.

For example, if you know that your novel needs to have a bit of suspense in it, you can practice writing suspense in short stories. If your novel will take a dark turn, you can practice writing something dark in a short story.

There are a few ways you can go about getting the most out of your short stories.

Set yourself a word count limit.

Somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 words and you need to get the entire story down in that number of words. For me, 2-3,000 is enough words to get in a decent story and practice the element.

This does a couple things for you. It limits how much you can say and forces you to pick the best words and phrases to advance…

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What #2018 Means

When a new year arrives, it brings about promises for change, aspirations to achieve dreams, or meet some type of goal or resolution.  But this year, it’s a little different for me.  Instead of looking forward, I’m reflecting on years past.  Years when loved ones were still around, and the whys of actions (or lack thereof) remained a curiosity of a shy young lady too scared to rock the boat.  And too afraid to trust anyone with the secrets in her head and her heart.

Building a wall may have been a security blanket, but who did it really keep warm?  Certainly not me.   I realize now that I shut out many who only wanted the best for me, and kept silent about the ones who meant the worst.

Things are different now. The wall’s coming down.

For 2018, my plan is very simple.  Live a life that is pleasing to God and treat others with love and kindness.  Of course I will still continue with the other goals that matter to me like this blog, and the bucket list items mentioned awhile ago (which I’m happy to announce I now know how to swim and had a blast in L.A.).  At the end of the day, or rather, when I’m old and gray(er), I want to look at my life and see not only material accomplishments, but be encircled by loved ones.  It may not sound like much, but to me it’s everything.

 

 

#Writing Tip from the Keyboard of KaylaAnn: Care for your body

Awhile back, I wrote about the importance of rest and relaxation to a writer. The post below piggybacks on that, which bears repeating.  We should take care of ourselves – mind, body, and spirit.

With that being said, this will be my last entry for 2017.  My plan is to take the next few weeks to rejuvenate so 2018 will kick off with a blast.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas and blessings for the new year!

Christmas Bulbs Banner

KaylaAnn

“What? Care for my body? How does that have anything to do with writing?”

Well, take a minute and hear me out.

It is common for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and basically any go-getters out there to work toward their goal without stop, without rest, and without realizing the strain they are putting on their bodies because they are so focused on their goal. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with desiring to accomplish your goal. In fact, it’s a good thing! Having goals and dreams worth pursuing is great.

However, we must also remember that we are only human. We are not Wonder Woman or Superman with everlasting endurance and health. It is possible that when we work too hard and forget to rest that we strain both our bodies and our minds.

For instance, I am a type-A personality for sure. I also work toward multiple goals…

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