Using Real People as #Fictional #Characters – #ArtisticLicense and #TBT

Great post by author Alana Siegel on her blog Optimist Superheroes about using real (historical) people as fictional characters. Check it out.

Optimist Superheroes

Throwback Thursday to John F. Kennedy’s Presidency!  More on him a little later.

Artistic License

There is a fine line between real people as fictional characters adding an intriguing aspect to a novel versus causing it to crash and burn.  Artistic license needs to be applied with caution so readers do not expect a biography, but instead a fact-checked, interesting twist on the person.

My latest book is about a girl who can see spirits, and the school she attends has a faculty of famous dead people. On the one hand, the spirit version of the celebrity may be totally different than the living version of the person. I could make Abraham Lincoln an outgoing, busybody, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I attempted to write each character in the voice everyone knows, but I then add an exaggeration here and there. [insert coy devil smiley]

John F. Kennedy as a Teacher…

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2 Comments on “Using Real People as #Fictional #Characters – #ArtisticLicense and #TBT

  1. Thanks for the reblog! I just read that Tolkien’s characters were influenced by real life people. Similar idea, right? Write what you know!

    • No problem. Good post.

      Tolkien was also inspired by and borrowed from mythology (primarily Norse, Finnish, and Anglo-Saxon, if I remember correctly). Adapting mythology the way he did is, I think, a similar skill to using real people as fictional characters. You have to do your research, and I think you have to be careful to maintain the central theme everyone is familiar with before adding your own twist.

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