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Writing Books/Use of real ships and places


QUESTION: I am writing a story the includes the sinking of US Navy ships and an attack on military ports.  May I use the names of existing US Navy ships and ports?

ANSWER: Yes, of course.  Using such things is vital to bringing a sense of realism to your writing.  Good luck!

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QUESTION: Clancy uses the character John Clark in many of his novels. Several of his novels stage Clark working with or within the CIA.  Do I have a potential copyright issue if I use the character John Clark with CIA ties or must I choose another name?

If you're talking about using the same character, yeah, that could get you into trouble.  Don't do it.

If you're talking about your own character who just happens to have the same name, I have to wonder why you'd want to name him that.  Not only because it would confuse readers who are also Clancy fans, but it's lazy.  You're creative enough to write a story; you can certainly come up with a new name.

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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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