I’m a short story writer and sometimes a person will say a word or phrase that “inspires me.” I did this when a friend inspired me with her story. I wrote a short with a phrase but I used the word “I,” implying to readers I was referring to myself.
Then I sent it to her, stupidly saying, “I wrote a story about you.” I used the wrong stupid words. I don’t think she even read it and said, “get rid of it or else.” I didn’t get rid of it because it’s one of my best stories. I just changed the title.
When I got my short story book published, I sent it to her. She said, “thank you,” and didn’t even notice the story, which shows it didn’t reflect on her in any way, except for her few inspiring words.
But, I confessed three years later that I felt sorry for using the wrong words “about you” when telling her about it, and upsetting her. She responded with, “If you write about me, I’ll sue you.” I explained that the “offensive story” was in the book I gave her three years ago and that she didn’t even notice.
I’d never write about someone without their permission, not because I am being threatened with a lawsuit, but because I don’t want to hurt them.
Am I in danger from this deranged ex-friend from hell?
I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for any legal questions you have. This is simply my opinion.
My first question is…why are you still friends with that person after she first threatened you with, “Get rid of it or else?”
Second, after she threatened you, why did you then tell her you went ahead and used her inspirational words as the catalyst for a short story years later?? I understand the need to be brutally honest with people (I am the exact same way) but…why did you put yourself in legal jeopardy by doing so, especially since it would not bring any harm to her at all?? Uggg….
Third, she said something that inspired you to write the story. The story is not about her. You simply used some words she said as inspiration. And, you wrote the story in first person and referred to yourself (“I”).
I can’t imagine any lawyer who would take a case like this – not even one of those slimy ones who file frivolous lawsuits.
I’d love to see the story in question.
In the meantime, don’t contact that person again. Nobody needs friends like that…especially writers! If she writes to you, ignore her. If she texts you, ignore her. If she calls you, ignore her. She’s probably just a drama queen who likes making other people miserable in order to get attention.
Only if you get a letter from an attorney should you respond and I seriously doubt you ever will.
Remember that engaging bullies feeds them. Every response gives them added incentive to keep bullying. I have found, over my two decades of exposing scammers, and receiving false threats from those bullies, that not responding to them is the best tactic. They eventually give up and seek out another victim.
If she wants to hire a lawyer, fine. Some lawyers take on ridiculous clients knowing they have a losing case. Only after billing them for dozens of hours will their sleazy client learn what a poor case they have (no case at all!). Let her rack up thousands in legal bills on a frivolous lawsuit. That’ll teach her a lesson.
- “Hiding” Won’t Protect You From a Libel Lawsuit – Just ask John!
- Well, Excuuuuuse Me for Trying to Protect You From a Lawsuit!
- Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)
- Featuring Real People in Your Writing? Protect Yourself From Lawsuits!
- Boldly Assuming You “Can’t Be Sued” Will Likely Lead to a Lawsuit
Read More "Ask The Expert" Articles
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.
We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!
Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!
Make Sure Your Marketing is Targeted at the Right Audience
It's A Dirty Job...Writing Porn For Fun And Profit! Includes Paying Markets!
Fact is, writing porn is fun! It's also one of the easier markets to crack and make money at while you're still honing your skills. "It's A Dirty Job..." is one of the only resources that can teach you everything you need to know to create your stories and target your markets.
Read more here:
It's a Dirty Job
Congrats on publishing your book. I knew a great man who said, among other memorable things, “Yes it sure is fun to quote other people and pretend you thought it up yourself.”