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Legalities of changing a real person's action?

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Posts: 1
Joined: November 2022
Currently reading: 6:22 by David Baldacci
Interest in HF: I'm considering writing a historical novel.
Favourite HF book: The Bridges of Tokyo Ri
Preferred HF: WWIi to Viet Nam era
Location: Lexington, SC

Legalities of changing a real person's action?

Post by seabeemike » Sun November 13th, 2022, 12:04 am

Warning - brand new hopeful writer.

I'm just starting to work out an idea for a historical novel about the US Navy during the Korean War era. My idea is to reverse the historic outcome of a real person's actions during the war. His actions were controversial but we're ultimately treated as heroic, although a great number of people disagreed. The person died in 2017 but I still have a little concern.

I absolutely plan to change the person's name and actually intend to combine two real people into my one character. I would also have an author's note at the end of the book that gives the background of the actual historic facts. I recently saw P.T. Deutermann doe this at the end of his book, "The Last Paladin". In his author's note he started with, "Naval history buffs will recognize that this story is based on the actual exploits of ..."

I feel like I should be safe but would hate to get way down the writing road only to find out I have to scrap everything due to a possible legal issue.


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