I received this from one of my readers:
Thank you for the most informative emails that keep popping through my inbox. These are always very helpful.
May I query something with you? A friend has asked me to go over an ms in which the writer has used names of well known places and people but giving them a slight twist, e.g. Harrod's becomes Harood's, Buckingham Palace becomes Buck Ham Palace, and Westminster Abbey becomes Eastminster Abbey. The writer has also used well known first names of people and then added different surnames which are quite similar to the names of the real people, and has them doing the same jobs.
I am not comfortable with this and am of the opinion that the writer should rather make up names that are very different from the original ones as although the story is not libellous or defamatory in anyway it such doesn't seem right.
What is your opinion? I'd love to hear from you.
Since then, I posted it on Facebook and asked a couple of friends what they thought, and the general consensus has been: If it's a paying editing job and she feels there's no malice or legal complications which will arise from this, then she should take the job.
Others have written to me saying that it's very uncreative on the part of the author create characters using real first names and jobs. And, in certain instances, it can give rise to legal issues, especially if the characters are completely recognizable.
I know from writing for magazines that if you want to use a person's real name, you need to get them to sign a waiver.
So, what do you'll think? I'd love to hear from you.