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To not want my stepdad to write a book about my son?

(86 Posts)
NoCapes Wed 26-Oct-16 12:07:20

Weird one

My Mum recently told me that my Stepdad is writing a book, so the next time I saw him naturally I asked him what kind of book it was/what it was about
He told me it was about a little boy called <DS1s name> and magical adventures he goes on through play basically
Then as he goes on it transpires that he's using real life situations/stories/things that have actually happened, in the book - some things that my Stepdad wasn't even there when they happened and only knows about them because I or ExP have told him about confused

Now I feel really wierd about this, I kind of feel like it's a bit of an invasion of privacy; they are our family stories and memories and I don't want them in a bloody book
I'm not on social media and I don't like when others put things about my kids on social media, so I'm not sure why he thinks writing a book about them would be appropriate
Surely if anyone was going to write a book about a child it should be the parents? Or he should've got our permission or something?
Also, I've got 3 children, and my brother has children, yet this book is solely about Ds1 - I find that a bit weird too

I don't know if I'm being weird and precious (I'm sure you'll all tell me grin) and I know realistically only a handful of people are probably going to read this book but still, the whole thing just feels...weird to me, I just don't like it or really want it to happen

Liiinoo Wed 26-Oct-16 12:08:19

I think it sounds cute but I don't think he should use your son's name.

JosephineMaynard Wed 26-Oct-16 12:09:26

That is weird.

You'd think he could at least change the child's name for the book.

totalrecall1 Wed 26-Oct-16 12:10:06

I think it's quite sweet. It sounds like he is using your son for inspiration, it's not a bio (unless your son has magical adventures) Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in wonderland all were based on real life children.

mycatstares Wed 26-Oct-16 12:10:56

Also, I've got 3 children, and my brother has children, yet this book is solely about Ds1

That is strange! Won't your brother be offended?

JustHappy3 Wed 26-Oct-16 12:11:16

If he gets an agent/publisher it'll be a copyright nightmare and he won't get very far.
If he self publishes then not many people will see it.
Share your discomfort completely. Hopefully a lawyer will be along with more info.

Sonders Wed 26-Oct-16 12:20:24

Sounds very weird. Have you seen/read Gone Girl? Being the 'star' of children's novel didn't end too well there...

myownprivateidaho Wed 26-Oct-16 12:20:54

Are you sure he's not writing it as a gift for DS1?

EdmundCleverClogs Wed 26-Oct-16 12:21:14

I'd be careful, apparently Christopher Robin Milne never appreciate being in a book! The likelihood of it becoming popular is low, I would imagine- however if it did, no one would want to be associated with it for the rest of their life. I would ask him to use a different name, at least.

MiddleClassProblem Wed 26-Oct-16 12:28:25

For me it would depend on what the stories that actually happened were. But I think it's sweet otherwise. Sophie Dahl liked it but pp said Christopher Robin didn't. If the stories could be embarrassing to anyone then that would be a big no (particularly your DS)

MiddleClassProblem Wed 26-Oct-16 12:29:07

Could you ask him to not put the real stories in? Just a book about a boy like yours with sand name!

MiddleClassProblem Wed 26-Oct-16 12:29:47

Same not sand and was meant to be a question mark not exclaimation 😔

JoJoSM2 Wed 26-Oct-16 12:30:46

I think that'most writers will be inspired by things they've been involved in, witnessed or heard about. I realise it might be a bit strange to you but your family will be the only people to know that the main character was inspired by your DC.

Ratbagcatbag Wed 26-Oct-16 12:31:48

I thought they had to be none identifiable, so he couldn't write with enough information that was then easy to realise it was about your Ds? I could be wrong on that though.

YelloDraw Wed 26-Oct-16 12:32:02

His name and pretend stories = OK
Fake name and real stories = OK

real name and real stories - I don't like the idea of that, feels a bit intrusive

SonyaGluck Wed 26-Oct-16 12:35:57

Writers often use their family/friends like this. My brother based characters on me, DH and my kids in a novel he wrote years ago. There was recognisable stuff there to anyone who actually knew us. He didn't use our actual names though and I don't think that's acceptable if it's a book intended for publication.

He didn't ask permission but I never had a problem with him doing it and I'm not sure what I could have done about it if I had.

Oldraver Wed 26-Oct-16 12:36:44

I wouldn't like it as if it did get published and if it was popular, you could bet your bottom dollar the fact it was based on your son would be sniffed out

Armadillostoes Wed 26-Oct-16 12:37:55

Do you write OP? I do and this doesn't seem weird to me, but I can imagine how it might if this isn't your kind of thing. I think that a lot depends on how your DS feels about all of this. I assume that the intention is that the book is intended to be a present for him? Also, where/how is he planning g to publish it? It might never really make it into the public domain. I can see your point of view here, but equally imagine that your step Dad thinks of this as a lovely thing he is doing, so it would be a shame to hurt his feelings. Also, I wonder if he has a plan in his head to write a book for each grandchild in turn? So YANBU but he isn't necessarily being unreasonable either. Could your have an open conversation with him?

NoCapes Wed 26-Oct-16 12:38:38

It's not a gift for DS no, which I agree would be very sweet
He's planning to self publish, he's done this before and sold about 150 copies I think

It's not a bio no I agree, although apparently even some of the 'magical adventures' have come from listening to DS play and little stories he's told, but the real life situations are quite specific, so it's not just 'we went to the zoo and had a picnic' it's 'DS is afraid of peacocks because of the time we went to the zoo and had a picnic and a peacock stole a sandwich out of DS's hand' - so things that DS remembers quite specifically, little family anecdotes that we laugh about

I presume my brother will be quite offended - I'm quite offended on behalf of my other children tbh! Especially DD who is only 18 months younger than DS1 and so they're very very close and she was there when every single one of these little stories happened, yet is being edited out! hmm

grin at the Gone Girl reference though

Mishmashpotatoes Wed 26-Oct-16 12:42:43

I think it's sweet

SpaceUnicorn Wed 26-Oct-16 12:43:25

Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much. Children's publishing is unbelievable competitive and the chances of your stepdad being the next Oliver Jeffers are very very slim indeed. He could self-publish but, as a PP suggests, it will likely sell a max of ten copies (to friends and family) unless he has a huge financial and free-time capacity for marketing.

On the off-chance that he is a talented writer and it does get picked up by a major publisher, there'll be a load of legal stuff in his contract regarding 'real life' similarities and changes will be made if it's found to resemble real-life persons/events too closely as publishers do everything they foreseeably can to avoid future litigation.

Let him enjoy his hobby. It's entirely harmless, and the manuscript will be something nice for your little boy to look back on when he's older.

APlaceOnTheCouch Wed 26-Oct-16 12:46:12

Maybe he's secretly planning a series based on each of the grandchildren smile

EssentialHummus Wed 26-Oct-16 12:46:25

I think it's weird - at least change DS's name! - but in practice his book is most likely going to go nowhere and be read by almost no-one so I'd just keep quiet, personally. And maybe keep the more embarrassing stories to yourselves.

BarInSpace Wed 26-Oct-16 12:47:49

YANBU, I'd find it a bit odd too TBH. I'm sure he means no harm but he could have asked you first.

Pickled0nions Wed 26-Oct-16 12:56:00

Oh my goodness get a grip. Even if it became popular do you think anybody would know the difference?
I think you're being extremely precious.

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