Writing Books/Jim Morrison


Morrison actually appears in an alternate reality as The Lizard King who happens to be the gatekeeper over a territory named The Door.  I am not trying to recreate anything that actually happened.  Do you think this would be acceptable and not subject to legal ramifications?
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Jim Morrison is a character in the novel I am currently trying to get published.  Do I have to get permission to use his name?  I know that Columbus "Corky" Courson is in charge of the Estate but I cannot find any way to contact him.  Will I get sued if I use his name/image in my novel?
Hello Justin:

Let me see...are you saying that the singer Jim Morrison (of the Doors, I believe) is a character in your novel? Do you plan to include him as a real person, doing things that Morrison did, etc., or just his name?

Using a real person in a novel is usually not done because to avoid problems, you need to tell the absolute truth, and that calls into doubt the book's classification as fiction. In any case, how do you know that what you read in the media is absolutely true? Did you know him personally?

Of course it is your book and you may write it as you wish, but I doubt any publisher would take it, due to the liability involved. Publishers, along with a lot of other industries, are wary of being sued. In a perfect world this would not happen to you, but...well, you know.

If you are getting turndowns from agents, try to find out why. If it turns out having to do with Morrison, I would consider writing him out.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 850 questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

Hello Justin:

Instead of things clearing up, they're getting more confused.

It will take some effort on your part to convince me that this is a good idea. What is it supposed to do, provoke a chuckle from the reader? "The Door - Jim Morrison, get it?" That is known as "the writer, writing," in essence, saying to the reader, "Aren't I clever?"

The problem is this: The beginning of the story is designed to draw your readers into the story world, and what happens later is designed to keep them there. In skillful hands, the reader beomes "entranced" with the story - this is what keeps people up late at night, reading. But the hold is tenuous: a phone ringing, a knock at the door, a sudden pain is enough to break it, and so is "the writer, writing." Readers have enough distractions to take them away from your book, try not to give them another.

All I can do is encourage you to think about it. I don't see how anyone connected with Morrison could possibly object to this "joke."

Thanks for writing.

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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