November 17th, 2016

foxy

an ethical question

Suppose you read a newspaper article about an unjust oppressive thing happening to a kid. Suppose that later, you became possessed by a desire to write fiction about kids figuring out how to protest against injustice and oppression. You thought you'd start with something like that incident you'd read about, but you were mostly interested in how the kids might respond to it: what might they do, to try to change things? What effect could they have? What would people do to try to stop them? Who would help them? How would they feel about the unintended consequences of their actions? And so on.

Eventually you noticed that you had neglected to come up with a different inciting incident. In fact, a lot of what you had come up with was pretty firmly rooted in the details of the actual thing that happened to some actual child. Because the actual thing was pretty much perfect, for your story. You didn't want to give up any part of it.

Would it be enough to change the name, age, sex, and nationality of the kid the incident happened to? Or would you still feel like you were stealing someone else's story?

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