Wednesday, September 05, 2007

If You're Going To Write About Murder...

...maybe it's a good idea not to write about one you committed.

According to news accounts, Krystian Bala has been convicted of a murder that bore strong resemblance to his novel Amok.

He claimed he read about the murder in news accounts and incorporated it into his work.

I don't know that the matter should really dissuade writers from finding inspiration in headlines for fear of being accused. Bala had ties to the victim that became apparent after a tip, and police said there were details in Amok that only the police or the killer would know.

Other dangers of ripping stories from the headlines are worth remembering:

Someone else--such as Law and Order--could be ripping as well, and your novel will not seem fresh.

Real life recounted in print is journalism. Make sure there's something worthwhile you can do with characters and situations to add meaning.


Charles Gramlich said...

Wow. I'd not heard this but very interesting. I make sure that all murders committed in my books are at the hands of aliens so that I cannot be accussed.

RK Sterling said...

Interesting. Reminds me of James Patterson's "1st to Die".

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