A writers disclaimer…

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The wording of this disclaimer differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and from country to country, as does its legal effectiveness.

Now see I can put this at the start of my book because it is true, all characters are a fragment of my imagination and my readers will have their own image and ideas about my characters, who they are what they look like and they may agree or disagree with their actions.

Looking way in to the future and with what may seem like very high expectations on how  successful this novel is going to be, there may be a class full of English students, studying and dissecting my book line by line, chapter by chapter..

What did the author mean here?

What is the main theme of this book?

Who is the protagonist?

Is there a double meaning to that sentence?

Students may go home resenting my book as they have just been assigned an essay on differentiating character traits or a comparative study on mine and another authors workings.

My point being each person will have their own opinion and ideas of where I’m coming from with my writing, why the characters are doing what they are doing, what I was trying to portray with my descriptions and dialogue.

I am just a name on the cover… who really thinks of the author when they are deeply engrossed within the story? I am a stranger, they don’t know why I have written what I have.

BUT…

What of those who know me? Know my personal experiences, know a lot about my life, my personality? Will they see traits of my personality in the characters? Will they think I am changing a personal experience in to a different scenario? Going in with the view that I am writing about myself they will automatically try and compare me to the characters and their experiences and vice versa.

Then what of those that think I have written about them…

I have been asked by plenty oh am I in your book? or a warped version of me? Only three people have read my first few chapters and already someone has seen themselves in my story, I am not writing about them just my characters are in a similar situation to which they once found themselves. Does that then break my disclaimer?

Everyone says write what you know….so does that not refer to people, stores, places and experience? Your own or others?

Do song writers not speak of their experiences in their songs?

You watch any interviews from writers of a sitcom or a soap and they will relate or know somebody who can relate to a story line they have written… the famous chandelier scene in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ was written after the creators uncle told him a story of a mishap he had on a days work.

Again your probably wondering what is the point here…

My point is.. Is your imagination not a warped version of experiences you’ve had, people you’ve met, stories you’ve heard, songs you’ve listened to, movies you’ve watched?

The Matrix… probably an idea created after someone went a little too far down the rabbit hole? Are we not all connected by machines?

What if all the worlds computers just failed… we couldn’t access our bank accounts, the newest cars wouldn’t drive, the world would go in to chaos as there would be no way for the government to tell us what to do how would they get the message across.. planes would fall from the sky…

This is a complete work of fiction but there is people out there who are waiting for a Morpheus character to come and unplug them, are they queuing up to the Wachowski Brothers saying they have stolen their identity, they have written about them… no, they can just simply relate.

So unless a book states it is based on a true story or is a non fictional book… it is then purely a work of fiction… an author taking his or hers warped imagination and putting it on a page. It is the readers prerogative to go in to the book with an open mind, or an idea of what the writer is going to or trying to convey and make their own assumptions and opinions.

I have heard countless times of people reading books or watching a movie or even hearing a song all written by a complete stranger saying its like its my life they are talking about…

An unspoken contract should be known between reader and writer:

Writer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Reader: I understand this completely… it is not my life just an imagination that holds similar scenarios and situations to the ones I have had.

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