Is it okay to use someone else's characters in your own book?

Jump to Last Post 1-6 of 6 discussions (8 posts)
  1. andrew savage profile image59
    andrew savageposted 5 years ago

    Is it okay to use someone else's characters in your own book?

    Is it plagiarism if I want to write a book and decide to use characters from another person's stories? Is it plagiarism if I do not ask or inform the person?

  2. LupitaRonquillo profile image76
    LupitaRonquilloposted 5 years ago

    I would think so. I think it would be asking for problems if you didn't get something in writing stating the permissive use of other writer's characters. I would feel "robbed" if that happened to me.

  3. alancaster149 profile image83
    alancaster149posted 5 years ago

    If the characters are historical figures whose characteristics are familiar, then yes. Use them by all means, they're 'common property'.
    Otherwise it's definitely 'hands off'! I wouldn't thank you for nicking mine, and nor would anyone else tolerate it. (Besides which they're  usually covered by copyright law). You could find yourself in hot water using characters created by famous authors alive or dead (their interests are usually represented by lawyers and family).
    Literary characters are usually arrived at with some thought, not just conjured up, so we should give their creators the benefit of protection as fellow writers.

    1. andrew savage profile image59
      andrew savageposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you sir.

    2. alancaster149 profile image83
      alancaster149posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I'd have to add that you could mention characters such as Long John Silver and Sherlock Holmes in passing. as they've passed into 'national lore' (almost common property) even bring them into a story, 'talk to them', but coin your own title and plot

  4. MickS profile image69
    MickSposted 5 years ago

    Yep, that author has worked hard to develop those characters, they are not there for someone else to use, the author deserves, and will get, the full protection of the law.  The only way you will get away with it is if they are historical characters, they are in the public domain, don't use another's words to describe them; or if the book is out of copyright; however, it is a poor author who can't create his own characters.

  5. mcrawford76 profile image83
    mcrawford76posted 5 years ago

    To take the ENTIRE character, name, personality, NO!!

    But as I've said in some of my other works, EVERYTHING we do and say is a copy of something someone else said somewhere.

    So I would say if you love something about a particular character, focus on that and build the rest of the character around it.

  6. M. T. Dremer profile image93
    M. T. Dremerposted 5 years ago

    If the author, or the copywrite, is still alive then do not take the character. It's a disservice to that writer, and you as well. If the story in question is public domain, like Sherlock Holmes, then you can technically use the character as no one has ownership of it anymore. However, using famous public domain characters is also ill-advised because the market is over-saturated with them and your writing will be compared to a famous author. Unless you're a stellar writer, it may reduce your work to glorified fan fiction. I would suggest that you create a new character and just use the other as a basis. As the story progresses they will pull away from that source material enough that no one knows who you were emulating.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)