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After spending a day on a ride along with Sheriffs deputies, I am interested in
writing a fiction novel loosely based on actual events of a crime the deputy I
rode with worked on. What legalities should I be aware of and do I need to
obtain any particular permissions from either the family of the murder victim or
the sheriffs dept?


If you're going to fictionalize an actual crime, then don't hold back.  Fictionalize it out the wazoo.  Take the particular elements that attract you to the story and tweak them so that it's not recognizable as the same case.  

You can change a lot: the ages and genders of the people involved, the location, heck... even the time period, maybe.

Shows like "Law & Order" do this all the time.  They'll take an actual crime from the news, then change a LOT of stuff so that it bears no resemblance to the actual event, other than superficially.

Doing this will allow you to avoid having to get permissions at all.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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