In a spirit of kindness and the immolation of self upon the altar of mutual aid and comfort, one has undertaken to answer literary questions posed by one’s students and their little friends.
This particular problem is one that faces many of us as we strive to draw inspiration from the people around us. I have often found myself wondering if my next door neighbour has yet realised that he has been immortalised in my pen portrait of the evil villain in Chapter Thirteen of ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’.
How do I include my annoying mother-in-law as a murder victim in my next novel without risking a divorce?
Thanking you for your kind attention.
This is an absolutely spiffing question Pennykins. The answer is, of course, a matter of complete simplicity to a mind as great as one’s own…
Describe the lady in every irritating little detail.
Enumerate her most revolting habits. Show the reader how she speaks, snores, breaks wind, misunderstands, and annoys. Detail her physicality, how she dresses, and how her voice sounds. Because she will NEVER recognise herself, and her offspring will equally not ever connect their beloved mother with the horror depicted in your prose. You are absolutely safe. Kill her off. With impunity. Or with whatever blunt, or sharp, instrument pleases you. Those who dislike her will recognise the old beldame and applaud your perspicacity. Her loved ones will never catch the reference.
Oh, and be sure to include the statement at the front of your book that all names, characters and events in the story are fictitious and that no identification with actual persons (living or deceased), is intended or should be inferred. Then even the law is on your side.
If you have a literary problem you may avail yourself of one’s wisdom by posting to my Facebook presence.