Tour’s Books Blog

May 23, 2009

The High Price of Revenge Characters

Filed under: Editorial,General — toursbooks @ 4:49 pm
Tags: , ,

Remember the whole Victoria Laurie incident where she threatened someone who didn’t like her books by saying she’d create a character in revenge?  To refresh your memory just click on Dear Author and you’ll find all the interconnected links.

Well, it wasn’t original with her and it is certainly not as uncommon as you might think.  I’ve read more than one dedication where the author thanked friends for allowing them to use their good names for villains.   (Randy Wayne White is one who does that, with permission, of course.)  Hey, there are only so many names out there.  But the roman á clef approach, especially a vindictive one, can have consequences.

Well, a writer/producer on CSI is finding that out.  And win or lose, it will be a costly lesson.  How long this link will last, I’m not sure, but click here and read the tale of real estate revenge.  Melinda and Scott Tamkin are suing Sarah Goldfinger for creating characters in one of the CSI Las Vegas episodes who were sleezy realtors named Melinda and Scott Tucker – but had originally been named Tamkin.  And guess what, those two characters were given all those socially unacceptable character traits (booze addiction for her and pornography for him) that would make them undesirable business associates.  Melinda even gets bumped off.  Ms. Goldfinger and the Tamkins were involved in a real estate deal that went bad in 2005, though from what was available in article, there was nothing to suggest there was a reason for any anger on Ms. Goldfinger’s part.

I’m sure it was all very cathartic for Ms Goldfinger, but was it wise?  Did CBS know what was going on?  She is being sued by the Tamkins for $6 million.  That too is inevitable.  I notice the use of ‘could have been deterred’ by the Tampkins lawyer.  I guess that means there’s no direct evidence that the fall off in business is directly related to the TV show – but the ink might well be good for the Tamkins!  How else could they make the national news?  hummmmmmmm

Now all you aspiring writers out there, be discrete.  If you plan to skewer an annoying person, do so with discretion.  And only after chatting with a lawyer.  No doubt we’ll have to kill off a writer of a roman á clef just to even things out.  Oh, wait.  We’ve done that on several TV shows.  Maybe Ms. Goldfinger should have considered the fact the such writers are most often the victims on TV shows.


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