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Question
Hi,

I want to write a novel, but in it I want to mention a few characters from other pieces of writing. The creator of these characters is still alive. My questions are basically: Do I have to pay something to him to mention the characters; Is there a special way I need to cite them?; Can you tell me anything else I might need to do regarding this matter.

Any help with this at all will be greatly appreciated.

Answer
Mentioning characters in other works, real names, real companies, etc. is copyright infringement and illegal.

The only thing you can do is contact this author, (person) and ask him/her for their direct permission, in writing and notarized or better yet, through his/her attorney on the attorney's letterhead, for their direct permission to use said characters.

Usually if permission is given in writing for the use of names, etc., the original owner, person, whatever the case may be, will also write in a percentage royalty profit to be paid directly to him/her if the book should be published, and also for other rights to profit if a movie, television series, etc. should happen.

You probably will not receive permission though-- it is RARE.

I would change my idea and go all original characters in my book. Less complications and more security for you.

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Jannie Balliett

Expertise

I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.

Experience


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Organizations
Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Publications
Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Education/Credentials
Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

Past/Present Clients
I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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