by Tamela Hancock Murray
Almost every time we post a story or give a “don’t do this” example, we receive emails and phone calls. “Were you talking about me?”
Why, yes. Yes we were.
Actually, something you did may have reminded us about something someone else did, which reminded us about something else that happened years ago. I’ve been an agent for well over a decade, so I’ve seen lots of situations happen more than once. So I might be inspired to write about an event because the fact it’s happened more than once shows that addressing it will help a lot of people. Maybe even you.
If it makes you feel better, realize it’s a two-way street. People also write about agents. I may read a post and wonder if I’m the particular agent who offended someone. Maybe. Maybe not. But I can learn from reading posts about how I can be a better agent.
Think about your stories. Aren’t many of your characters composites of people you know? What would happen if you had to field phone calls from offended friends and relatives every time a character misbehaved in your book? How would you address an angry phone call from your sister-in-law? Or the dismay of a cousin? I suggest first, thank her for being one of your readers.
But any time you think we may be talking about you and this really bothers you, we don’t mind if you ask us about it. Recently I saw a post (not on our blog) open up communication between two people who went on to reconcile and forgive years-old wounds. But please don’t feel hurt or put upon if you feel we may be using a composite of you and several other people in regards to something such as how to write a letter. We aren’t mad at you. Seriously. We just want to help everyone in the publishing community.
And thank you for being one of our readers.
Have you ever read a post that made you squirm, thinking it may have been about you? Did you ask the writer about it?
Has anyone ever asked you if one of your characters was based on them? What did you do?