Do fiction writers ever use real-life names of their enemies (past or present) to play the bad guys in their stories? Has anyone on this board ever done this in their writings, especially for published works (in print or on the web?) How do you choose the names of your baddies otherwise if you are fearful of potential lawsuits? Have such authors ever been sued or at least been legally threatened for maligning the names of the people on their shitlists IRL? Does the disclaimer “the events in this story are purely fictional and any resemblances to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental” defend such writers from such litigation?
The way I look at it, it’s fiction and descriptions of vile acts that the villain performs aren’t necessarily intended to serve as an actual account of any such actions these people have actually done (though it could be if the bad guy’s actions in the story are based on what he did in real life) and therefore could not be construed as libel. I imagine most writers like to use realistic names that aren’t too boring or generic (i.e. John Smith, Joe Brown) and it would onl be natural to use the names of people you don’t like. If I were to write such a story with bad guys in it I’d want to give them the names of nasty classmates and disagreeable bosses, or at least alter the names slightly so that they are similar. Even so, chances are somebody in the real world would have such a name and might be offended by seeing himself/herself being portrayed as a villain. Anyone who can shed some light on this subject please do.