Suspend Your Disbelief

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Real-Life Characters in Fiction

Erika at Practicing Writing pointed us to this great post at The Guardian on real-life characters in fiction. Writes blogger Meg Rosoff:

Six hundred words were suggested to tackle the important question of whether it is “right and fair” to fictionalise real-life characters. I could answer it in 15.

Do what you like, only do it well – and don’t expect the relatives to approve.

The possibilities for intersecting “real life” and fiction are many. Some works, like E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime sprinkle real-life personnages across their pages; others, like Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize–winning Wolf Hall, base the story upon people who were once really alive. Yet these works are indeed fiction, not just history in narrative form.

Practicing Writing has some great reflections on this topic. And you tell us: say you’ve decided to take the plunge and put a real-life character into your fiction, how do you make it convincing?

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