The Mad Author
Jean Tennant


Posted Friday, March 25, 2011, at 9:02 AM
View 9 comments
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  • I love that idea of the towns in Minnesota! I have one - Jordan Becker!

    -- Posted by DHarris on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 12:25 PM
  • I too have thought of great things to write about after I've gone to bed. It's true, one rarely remembers those thoughts in the morning. Keeping a notebook is an excellent idea.

    -- Posted by rjochims on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 8:24 PM
  • It's not always easy for me to take notes when I'm driving, so I use a tape recorder.I hadn't thought of keeping it by my bed. Good idea.

    -- Posted by ggilmore on Mon, Mar 28, 2011, at 1:12 AM
  • What about names in my Ideas File? Can I use the names of real people for characters in my novel?

    -- Posted by farmergirl.sp on Mon, Mar 28, 2011, at 11:05 AM
  • Like farmergirl, I've wondered about using the real names of people. Is it safe for both parties?

    Do I let the reader know the family approves of the use of the family name?

    My ideas are placed on sticky notes and put into a book purchased at a thrift shop. Subject tabs are placed at the edge of the group of pages. Such as..Sayings, Famous quotes, Discriptive words, Resources and Blogs.

    -- Posted by wordgardener on Tue, Mar 29, 2011, at 6:24 PM
  • A tape recorder is a good idea, too. I have one, but seem to find it easier to grab my notebook when I need it. Probably just an old habit with me. Use whatever works for you.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Tue, Mar 29, 2011, at 9:12 PM
  • As for the names of real people... it depends on the context. If you're using the name of someone you know, or someone in your community, as a fictional character, I'd advise against having the character be very negative. You could end up offending someone.

    If you're using the names of people you know and having them be the actual characters in your book, like what Peter Davidson did in his novel "Okoboji," then it's not a bad idea to get permission. Dave did that. He used the names of real people in the book, playing themselves but in a fictionalized scenario. He took excerpts of his manuscript and let each person read the part that pertained to him/her, and got their approval. Of course all of the these people were portrayed in a positive light.

    If you're writing a villain, I'd suggest you not use the name of someone you know. Make up a name. But even then, the name is still likely to be that of a real person somewhere, just not someone you happen to know.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Tue, Mar 29, 2011, at 9:31 PM
  • Wordgardener, I don't think it's necessary to tell your readers that the family approves of the use of the family name. Let your readers enjoy the story without filling them in on unessential details.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Tue, Mar 29, 2011, at 9:35 PM
  • As stated, ideas are all around. I raised 5 sons. They, collectively, raised my 12 grandchildren. In my column I can hide their identity by using "my son" or "granddaughter" and so forth when writing a column about their activities here at my farm.

    -- Posted by Firstogo on Wed, Mar 30, 2011, at 11:44 AM
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