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Writing Books/Fiction about real life events


I'm in the planning stages of a new project. One of my main characters is a musician. My idea is to have the ending (or at least the emotional climax of the story) take place at the Grammys. Two questions:

Can I use the Grammy name and event?
Am I able to use names of real people who may be at the grammy ceremony. Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, etc?

Hi Ryan,

As appealing as that might be, my vociferous advocation would be "no" on all counts. Using the name of a real company, real event, or real person without their expression written consent first may open the door for lawsuits for libel or slander if the person/company/agency that you wrote about doesn't like what you said. Even if you end up winning the case, that's a lot of time and money that you would spend defending yourself in court.

There are some tricks that you can use to still accomplish your goals, however. For example, rather than mention the Grammys by name, describe when and where the event is. Mention that your character sees a picture hanging out in front of the venue with a gold-colored, old-fashioned record player on it. Etc. If you can provide enough details you can be probably get most people to infer that you mean to imply that they are at the Grammys without actually saying it.

Good luck in your book! I hope this helps,

Kind Regards,

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Johnathan Clayborn


I can answer a broad range of questions about both academic and creative writing. I can answer questions about APA format, research and references, essay structure and more. I am particularly helpful in the areas of character development, storyline development, etc. and I can provide authors with an array of tools to help them organize their work.


I minored in English for my Bachelor's degree. I have also written several books and I run a small publishing company (before you ask, we're not accepting submissions at this time). I have written both fiction and non-fiction books and I have been published in newspapers and written articles for major internet websites.

Alpha Chi, Psi Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, APA

MS, Educational Psychology, BS Psychology (English minor)

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