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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#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 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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How to Successfully #Write a Blurb: Tips from Andrea Lundgren

Very helpful and insightful!

Andrea Lundgren

Writing blurbs can be considered the ultimate challenge. You’ve finished a full-length story–now write a brief statement that encapsulates your tale in a few paragraphs, using language that will entice, interest, and intrigue a would-be reader.

Oh, and keep it consistent with the story inside so that the two match. Simple, right?

Courtesy of Gratisography

Unless you’re a born salesperson, blurbs can be a challenge, which is why I offer blurb coaching as an option to where you don’t have to “go it alone.” But there’s also a basic formula you can follow to at least get your blurb started.

  1. Answer the Who, What, When, Where, and How questions. I wrote about how these can help you focus a novel here, and they come even more in handy when working on your blurb. There isn’t usually room to cover all your answers, but you do need to know who the story is…

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How to not lose your mind while #editing

This is excellent advice!

Bernadette Benda

Editing a novel. How shall I describe it?

Editing is like polishing silver, except with a blindfold, and the blindfold is on fire, and you are banging your head against a wall trying to put the flames out while still polishing the silver.

giphy (28) pretty much how it is

But it’s all worth it. I promise. (I really, really, really promise the editing is worth it).

But how – how do you not lose your mind while editing?? I got a few tips…they may be helpful…

*grins and shrugs*

plant1

Write clear and concise notes.

This probably depends on your editing process…but if you’re like me, you take a lot of notes. A LOT.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am notorious for leaving undecipherable notes that make no sense to me or anyone else that Elrond himself would not be able to decipher. Or, I write notes…

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Why #writer’s guilt sucks

I’ve certainly been there. A way to overcome the guilt may be to document it. Write a paragraph about what the guilt feels like…thoughts…etc. That may be good stuff to use when writing a character for a scene, and it’s being productive.

The Wondering Scribe

Hello Peepz,

Have you ever felt bad for not writing? Or, in an opposite mood, felt guilty for wanting to write? Have you disliked yourself for writing a certain thing? I have too, and it sucks.

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Why #Rest and #Relaxation Are Like Air to #Writers (and Everyone Else in the World)

Taking care of our physical and mental well-being is an essential piece of our writing progress.

Melanie V. Logan

Rest and relaxation are things that we know we need, but sometimes “life” takes hold and we have to put it off.  For writers, this can be further complicated with extra work hours, kid’s activities, and to-do lists that interfere with our writing time.  So fitting in relaxation is like parallel parking in the tightest space.  Both can be done, but could be difficult without effort and determination (and maybe a stroke of luck).

Mental Health America and Psychology Today emphasize the importance of rest and relaxation on the mind and body.  When the brain’s maxed out, it affects cognition which is the mental ability to understand and process information. From a physical standpoint, when the body’s worn the amount of energy to complete tasks is limited or near non-existent.  If a writer can’t think

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