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Old Apr 27, 2004, 07:31 PM   #41
lennon4
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CHOMP!
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Old Apr 30, 2004, 06:03 PM   #42
peacenyc2004
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Hi Sleepy! I am sorry but I do not agree with your last post (and am late in writing this reply). I am unsure what books you have read about Paul and The Beatles, but it is well documented that Mr. McCartney imploded in his grief over Mary McCartney. Paul himself has spoken on the topic several times, that his Father was insular following his Mother's death (which was a bit confusing for him as a teen).

It is not as if anyone here has not experienced intimately a wide range of situations involving grief and cannot imagine different reactions in grief. It is rather that collectively people are concerned, and legitimately so, with encouraging Beatles related fiction writing which does not evoke the spirit of an individual who was alive.

Encouraging Kim to take artistic license on such a sensitive issue as to grief reaction when it is documented in several books what Mr. McCartney was like after Mrs. McC's passing is not helping her, or other Beatles fic writers.

By encouraging such a vast reinterpretation of another's spirit and legacy, it is saying not doing research is okay, that not being true to one's spirit is okay. What Kim has done and what people are pointing out is that she only used Mr. McCartney's name, did not evoke in an authentic way his spirit, and that merely using someone's name is not enough to make it Beatles fiction. Solid, memorable Beatles fiction is discerning in how it conjures up the spirits of The Beatles, their families, their friends, their partners.

One can encourage good writing and good writers without letting them off the hook on a basic key to good Beatles fic: doing one's homework and research on the individuals being written about.

Support and encouragement are deserved by Kim, absolutely, and you are very kind to offer it, as is everyone else. She put in hard work on her stories, clearly and you clearly don't want her to feel discouraged by all the comments to the stories she posted and I appreciate that.

What has been offered here is constructive comments, by people who read a lot of Beatles fiction, edit a lot of Beatles fiction, and write a lot of Beatles fiction. Constructive criticism is a caring act. The input has been interesting and diverse and shows great care was taken in reading Kim's works too. She stimulated a very good and memorable chat with her works.

Thanks for listening, I appreciate your hearing me out on this.
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Old Apr 30, 2004, 06:29 PM   #43
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Default Re: I\'ve got some fanfics too :o)

Very well siad, Peacenyc. That is really all we were saying.
I really feel that it's important for a writer of Beatles fiction to be true to the Beatles, their families, and their friends as regards their characters and personalities.
We need to be careful not to take liberties with these very real people and disregard their very real feelings. After all the joy and pleasure the Beatles have given to us, the very least we can do is to memorialize their loved ones, those still living as well as those who have passed on, the way they really were.
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Old May 01, 2004, 09:43 AM   #44
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Being confused over his father's reaction to Mary's death is practically the only directly relevant comment concerning Jim's reaction that Paul ever made. In as much as Jim was always touted as a kind, warm-hearted man who bent over backwards to give his boys the freedom to develop independently, one is necessarily left wondering what Jim's actions and words were during that period of grief that left Paul so confused. It doesn't follow that his actions completely reversed themselves - that wouldn't lead to confusion, but to outright anarchy. It also doesn't follow that he maintained his calm facade - that would not lead an impressionable 14-year old to be confused, either.

That leaves a lot of room for interpretation...
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Old May 01, 2004, 11:56 AM   #45
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What I know about Paul's growing up could probably fill a teaspoon, but I do know what he had to say about his father...that he was a shy man, a man who loved gardening and crossword puzzles, that he was a musician with his own band, that he was a cotton salesman, and that his reaction to his wife's death was that he wept.
In fact, Paul stated that for him, the worst thing that happened after his mother died was hearing his dad cry.He said that it was a terrible blow, and that he'd never heard him cry before. I read this in Paul's bio in the Beatles Anthology book (thank you, Kristin!) and it was in Paul's own words, so I know it was trustworthy and true.
This being the case, I feel that it is safe to assume that this weeping was the way that Mr. McCartney handled his grief at the loss of his wife. In any case, it is all the information that Paul offered, so, in my opinion, assigning such unflattering reactions to this man is slanderous.
I am sure that Kim meant no disrespect. She more than likely just didn't think of how any of Paul's family would feel if they were to read that story, and I am sure that she would never want to hurt or offend Paul, because she said she loves him.
While it is true that excessive drinking and/or striking out against those near you are certainly not uncommon reactions to personal grief,there is no reason at all for us to believe that this could be the case with Mr. McCartney. It just doesn't fit with what we have been told about him by someone who knew him best, namely his own son.
I think we need to keep his character as close as possible to accurate when writing about him, even in fiction, since he was a real person and therefore deserving of our respect.
As a parent, I would hate knowing that after I die, anyone would write a story, even a fictional one, depicting me as having beaten my kids. It seems reasonable to me to assume that any parent would feel the same way.
(See The Beatles Anthology, page 19)
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Old May 01, 2004, 01:19 PM   #46
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I really have to beg to differ with you. You see - I wept. But that is only half a teaspoon of my reactions at each death in my family (which are growing more numerous each year as I get older). The closer the family member, the more wild my reaction.

My grandfather was the wisest man I know, and nobody I know would ever describe him in any way dissimilar to the parcity of phrases I've read describing Jim McCartney. They fit to a "T" - but when his 4th son committed suicide, he was a very different man for awhile. He was angry, he was bitter, his faith in God was shaken and his values seemed very different. It didn't last long - and since his death, we choose to remember and speak only of those kindnesses and evidences of his wisdom. But all of our eulogies do not in any way touch upon the reality of his inability to bounce right back from losing his son.

After his death, my grandmother - the peppery, loving, but very firm woman who guided so much of my upbringing through my mother - grew extremely introspective. A woman who stressed fairness in all things actually cut off a 6 year old child and flung a piece of frippery made by an older child in her face and dared her to compare her own poor efforts to those of the older child. In tears, I gathered up my children, and my guests, and left - wondering when my beloved grandmother would recover. That was Easter Sunday. I would still describe her as I've described her, and no, normally she defends and praises the younger children to the utmost against the bullying of the older ones.

But not this Easter Sunday. Not a mere 5 months after her beloved husband died in her arms. She's still the same woman, but she acts totally out of character sometimes...

The paucity of the commentary on those months after Mary's death is understandable on 2 fronts - the primary one, of course, is the terrific degree of hardship a teenager faces when losing a parent. The other is the inability of even the most astute teenager to adequately understand what his or her parents are going through. There is, indeed, room to explore what differing avenues of grief Jim may have taken, as his beloved son describes absolutely none.
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Old May 01, 2004, 02:54 PM   #47
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First, let me say that I am deeply sorry for the hardship your family certainly has been through due to the loss of your grandfather.

(quote:There is, indeed, room to explore what differing avenues of grief Jim may have taken, as his beloved son describes absolutely none.)
There IS room, but I am questioning our right as authors to fill that space with anything but what we have actually been given as fact. We don't have the right to say unflattering things about the man that could upset his family if they were to read them. There are two possible reasons for Paul's silence regarding his father's reaction: 1) there WAS no other reaction, or 2) Paul feels that it should be a private matter.


The point I am trying to make is that we only have the right to use the information that we KNOW to be true when assigning fictional actions to a real person.
If, for instance, the story were about your grandmother, we would be within our rights to use the information you just offered in the story, because you just made it public here. If, however, you had not told us about your grandmother's reaction, we would, in my opinion, have no right to assign such a reaction to her.
An example:I may write a story about John and say that he drank too much and punched a hole in my wall, narrowly missing me. I would feel comfortable saying that, because it actually happened...I was there. I might say that he got angry at his wife or girlfriend, stalked off, and slept with someone else, because I know that would not be out of character for him. I may say that Paul and John got so angry with one another that they came to blows. That's okay, I know that happened on at least one occasion because John told me it did. To say, however, that one of them murdered someone would be wrong, because there is no precedent to make me think that this would be so much as a remote possibility. I would never write a story and have any of the Beatles beat one of their children no matter how upset they became, because that, I believe would be slanderous. If, however, one of them were to publicly admit to beating one of their kids or I saw one of them do so,
I would be justified in saying that they did so in my story. They have set a precedent.
Literary license is all very well and good, but it does not extend to assigning slanderous and unprecedented behavior to the person being written about.
I once wrote a story about the Beatles in which they accompanied Santa Claus on his yearly trip around the world delivering presents. Obviously, this never actually happened, nor has anything like it. The difference is that I was not saying anything about them that places them in an unflattering light. Now, if I were to write that they went to the North Pole and beat the crap out of Santa Claus, that would be slanderous. It is unjustifiable.
Maybe I am explaining this badly. Does anybody else get what I mean?
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Old May 01, 2004, 07:24 PM   #48
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Hi Sleepy! Aren't all 14 year olds confused? That is sort of the time to be confused--gosh knows that I was....and if one's Father has become insular so's to protect one's son from seeing him crying , that can translate into confusion. In the 1950s in England, I can well imagine the kind of code men were "told" by society to behave by....i.e. be strong in front of the children. Is this abuse? Has either Mike or Paul McC indicated drinking was an issue in their family? No. What people are saying and it is legitimate is: Mr. McCartney's life and character are well documented; stick to the facts and to the spirit of the person, and the stories grow in largesse and in weight. Many contributing their thoughts to this thread are writers, editors, publishers who are trying to help Kim to use her imagination in a cogent way.

This is what Paul himself has said about that time, how strong his Father tried to be after their family's loss. From the Hunter Davies book: "I think Dad did not want to see him breaking up, so we were sent to Aunt Jinny's for a little while after Mom died...." Later he and Mike McC say, "we don't know how he managed it, he was bloody marvelous. We owe a lot to our Dad." Paul's biggest peeve he says in the Davies book with his Dad is his constant use of what he thought of as corny homespun philosophy and his Dad's mediocre cooking skills. Davies goes on to write, "Jim McCartney has a cozy touch, a natural charm and courtesy; in the hands of a less thoughtful father, his sons could have easily broken out after their mother died."

There are literally dozens of accounts aside from this one of what Paul and his Family experienced as a family after his Mother's death, so anyone taking on writing Beatles fic is not at a loss in doing their research and their homework. Paul has never veered from the description of his father being kind, quiet, insular, and trying to do his best under challenging circumstances.

Not to distract what the main crux of this thread is about though: many here are saying that to veer completely when writing Beatles Fic or any sort of fictionalized account about a real, living person for the sake of artistic license just will not lend a Beatle fic story, no matter how imaginative, an authentic ring to it. Just using famous persons' names does not make it sound "real". Keeping to that individual's spirit is what lends fiction some weight; the other point is that constructive criticism is caring, and many on this thread have shown this to Kim including yourself. We can agree to disagree, that is what makes chat rooms fun and interesting, the learning experience. Best to all and thanks for listening!
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Old May 02, 2004, 08:00 AM   #49
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Angel and Peace,

You have expressed my thoughts on this far better than I could. Angel, you have the additional advantage of being able to add John's personal input into something that gives you additional knowledge and background.

Sleepy, please accept my condolences for the loss of your grandfather. You're right about grief affecting people differently and in some cases, repeat some cases, people are so grief-stricken that they do things they would never be able to imagine themselves doing otherwise. It is as varied as there are individuals.

I like what Angel said about literary license within bounds of reason. As long as the real people stay true to their core/natural selves, and as long as the feelings of the real people and those closest to them are treated plausibly and with respect, then I see no harm in that.
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Old May 02, 2004, 09:25 AM   #50
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First off, let me say how sorry I am about the grief issues your family is clearly still dealing with, Sleepy. Obviously this is a serious subject for you.

While I do generally agree that grief has the potential to change a person and cause them to act in a manner other than usual, I must, however, say here that I agree with what Angel and peacenyc are trying to say. The real issue here is that precisely because there IS enough documentation out there to say that Jim McCartney never, ever took his grief out on his children (other than to send them to their aunt's so they would not see him cry), it is irresponsible and reprehensible for any person who calls himself a writer of fan fiction involving real people to write a story in which he deals with his grief by beating his son to a pulp. (And since many people have been able to cite specific documentation in this thread, I don’t know where you’re getting the impression that nothing has ever been said about this for the public record. There is not, as far as I know, a “paucity of information” about this period in Paul’s family’s life.)

I have been over this time and time again in the five years of running Rooftop Sessions. There are even several articles in my "Write Thinking" section that deal precisely with this very issue, the issue of being true to your characters and being cognizant of the fact that they are real people and as such should be treated with care and respect.

Here's a quote from an article in Rooftop by Cheryl Mortensen on creating believable characters:

[ QUOTE ]
If you’re writing Beatles fanfic, the four lads from Liverpool are there for you on a plate. In very simplistic terms, all you have to do is stay within their ready-made characters and you’re home free; you can foray a bit out of character, but not too far. They weren’t angels by any means, they were complex, real, living, breathing human beings, so you’ve actually got a bit of leeway. But don’t go doing anything like writing Ringo as Jack the Ripper, it simply won’t fly. And remember that you’re writing about real people; be respectful of them.

[/ QUOTE ]

The point being made with this statement is that it's okay to stray a BIT from what is generally known, but if you start to write your characters in ways that render them unrecognizable and just stick a real person's name on them, that does not make it believable, plausible, OR respectful!

The issue here is NOT whether a man who is grieving for his wife would plausibly drink to excess and then use his son as a punching bag. The issue is whether JIM McCARTNEY would. And based on everything that is known about the man, the odds are quite slim that he'd do that. So, it follows that writing a story about a man who is grieving, drinking and punching and calling that man by Jim McC's name is neither a natural progression from reality, nor plausible given what we know about Jim, nor respectful of his memory.

I think, Sleepy, that you are perhaps projecting your own family's grief experiences on to Paul and his family. That's a natural thing to do, of course, and certainly reasonable. And yes, you are correct that grief can sometimes make people do things that would otherwise be out of character for them. But what you don’t seem to be getting here (and what many people have been trying repeatedly to say) is that while Kim’s story might be okay if she wasn’t writing about a real person about whom certain things are known, it is NOT okay in a reasonable Beatles fanfic. If you want to call yourself a writer of Beatlefic, you have to maintain respect for the REAL PEOPLE involved, and frankly, a portrayal of Paul’s father such as she has written is just plain not respectful of Jim, Paul, Mike, or any member of the McCartney family. NO ONE is saying Kim meant to be disrespectful on purpose, though – clearly, from what she has said, she was unaware that such a thing could be a potential problem. But even though this is “fiction,” it is fiction about real people, and as such, treads a fine line when it comes to what is plausible and what is not and what is respectful and what is not.

We aren't talking about whether this idea makes a good story generally -- we are talking about whether it makes a good Beatles fan fiction story. As it is now, I personally do not believe it does, and as you can see from other posts in this thread, neither do a lot of others.
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Old May 02, 2004, 10:14 AM   #51
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[ QUOTE ]
HMVNipper Posted:
The real issue here is that precisely because there IS enough documentation out there to say that Jim McCartney never, ever took his grief out on his children (other than to send them to their aunt's so they would not see him cry), it is irresponsible and reprehensible for any person who calls himself a writer of fan fiction involving real people to write a story in which he deals with his grief by beating his son to a pulp.

[/ QUOTE ]
Right, this is what kind of surprised me about this discussion, simply because this IS a well-documented time in Paul's life. This is from Many Years from Now:
"The boys went to stay with Jim's brother Joe and his wife Joan, while friends and relatives tried to calm their distraught father, whose first thought was to rejoin his wife. After his initial anguish, Jim suppressed his own grief in order to make a home for the two bewildered boys."

(And I do consider this book to be one of the definitive Macca biographies because much of it is in Paul's own words. It's as close to an actual "autobiography" as we'll ever get from Paul.)

Jim McC was human, just like the rest of us. He did good things, he also did things that aggravated Paul (his marriage to Paul's stepmom comes to mind, but that's another topic for another day)... but even if Paul has whitewashed what happened during that period following Mary's death, there could be things that happened that Paul never mentioned that are simply none of our business and we probably don't need to know anyway out of respect for Paul and his family. And we ALL know the lengths that Paul will go to defend his family....

The whole point is this: conjecture is fine in some cases (Lord knows that's what fan fic is all about--particularly alt-his ones). However, even alt-his stories where the Beatles never even HAPPENED still stay true to the individual Fabs' character, otherwise it might as well just be another story about a generic band that never happened. I've read stories out there that stick closely to the times and places where the Beatles were during the mid '60s tours, but their portrayed characters (John's, in this particular case) were SOOOO off the wall that the story was unbelievable. And that's the whole point in fan fiction and even historical fiction--there has to be a carefully-maintained suspension of disbelief for the story to work. When one element is off, it throws the whole story off-balance.
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Old May 02, 2004, 07:03 PM   #52
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[ QUOTE ]
beatlegirl9977 Posted:
This is from Many Years from Now:
"The boys went to stay with Jim's brother Joe and his wife Joan, while friends and relatives tried to calm their distraught father, whose first thought was to rejoin his wife. After his initial anguish, Jim suppressed his own grief in order to make a home for the two bewildered boys."

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, I agree and consider this to be a more introspective and thoughtful bio. Jim's first thought was to "rejoin his wife" - in other words, he was, however briefly, suicidal. And "after his initial anguish" - there is no time span suggesting that his thoughts of dying or doing other harm to himself to hurry along the natural process was a one-off or something that took years to get over. It was only after facing his extreme grief that he "suppressed it", and he had two "bewildered boys" to bring back home. That terse sentence doesn't tell us whether the boys were bewildered before they left home, while they were away, after they came back...

If you cannot see the room for interpretation based on the only bio Paul officially sanctioned, then I cannot force you to see it. I will say this - I find her exploration of that difficult time in Paul's life far more believable than any other fan fic I've ever read precisely for the reason that it is not documented any other way. All of the others I've read are pipe dreams that can be proven to be fiction.
Good fiction should not be probable - it should be believable.
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Old May 02, 2004, 07:31 PM   #53
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Well, I'm sorry I came into this topic too late to read "Choices." I have some questions about it, if you guys would be so kind as to indulge me:

1. Was the story mostly about Paul being beaten up by his dad? Roughly what percentage of the story was about him being beaten up? And how graphic was the beating? Did we see blood flying, fists slamming into flesh, teeth clattering across the floor?

2. What was the plot? How did the beating fit into the plot?

3. Was Paul beaten repeatedly over days, or just once?

3. Did he fight back or try to get away, or did he just stand there and take it?

4. Was Mike in the story at all, and did he do anything to help Paul? Did he just stand by and watch fearfully? Run away? Cry?

5. How did Paul feel about his father afterwards? Did they ever talk about what happened?

6. Where did the beating ultimately take Paul's relationship with his father? Is this beating said to have affected his adult life in any way?

I bring all this up because I'm getting the impression that the story was just about Paul getting beaten up, which doesn't sound like much to hang a story around. From what I've seen of other Paul in Pain stories, they're pretty pointless; they exist merely to show Paul being tortured, and they don't actually tell a story or possess believable characters. Aside from being icky, such pieces are really boring.

BTW, a little object lesson for those of you who think that any story is OK because it's fiction and labeled as such: When "Gilligan's Island" premiered, the Coast Guard and Navy got a bunch of letters asking them to go and rescue these seven people. This show had a theme song and background music, actors' names under the characters' pictures, and a ridiculous premise--yet SOME PEOPLE BELIEVED IT WAS REAL. (BTW, it's always made me nuts that people attribute a good line in a movie or TV show to a character rather than a scriptwriter, or call actors by their TV names instead of their real ones.)

It's a documented fact that one's first impulse is to believe what one reads or heards--it takes a bit of critical thinking to get past that little problem. Thus, if you say that Paul's father was abusive, some people will read this sort of story and believe it to be true. And it's one thing if the things they believe to be true are benign or positive, like John going up in a spacecraft, but quite another if they're insulting or degrading (parody is an exception, but Paul in Pain stories have not to my knowledge ever been parody). Finally, Paul's father was NOT a celebrity, so saying such things about him is definitely defamation.
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Old May 03, 2004, 03:18 AM   #54
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[ QUOTE ]
SleepyHead Posted:
[ QUOTE ]
beatlegirl9977 Posted:
This is from Many Years from Now:
"The boys went to stay with Jim's brother Joe and his wife Joan, while friends and relatives tried to calm their distraught father, whose first thought was to rejoin his wife. After his initial anguish, Jim suppressed his own grief in order to make a home for the two bewildered boys."

[/ QUOTE ]


If you cannot see the room for interpretation based on the only bio Paul officially sanctioned, then I cannot force you to see it. I will say this - I find her exploration of that difficult time in Paul's life far more believable than any other fan fic I've ever read precisely for the reason that it is not documented any other way. All of the others I've read are pipe dreams that can be proven to be fiction.
Good fiction should not be probable - it should be believable.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, Sleepy it SHOULD be believable. I am an experienced and professional editor of many kinds of writing and someone who has written and read a heck of a lot of fanfic over the last thirty years. I do not find any story in which Paul's father beats him to a pulp to be believeable by any stretch of the imagination. Clearly we must agree to disagree.

I must also say that I find it really kind of sad that anyone would find stories like "Choices" to be more believable than any romantic fanfic, frankly. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather see Paul being kissed by a girl or making love to someone than being beaten black and blue! You call that kind of thing "pipe dreams," but frankly, I think there's something vaguely sick about sadistic fantasies that manifest themselves in Paul in Pain stories rather than something a lot more pleasant.
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Old May 03, 2004, 03:39 AM   #55
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Paul wasn't beaten to a bloody pulp - at least not in Kim's story. It wasn't a sustained beating or anything like that, it was the swing of a man in pain, having failed to bring himself to a state of obliteration via the famed route of too much alcohol, and popping a smart-mouthed teen. Was young Paul smart-mouthed? Oh, definitely - a fact that is well documented on film. Is a parent in pain and under the influence likely to smack a youngun who sasses him? Very likely. Is a person under the influence likely to take a vaguely off-kilter statement as personally offending, or to any other anti-social extreme? Extremely likely. Is a teen likely to view such reactions from a parent as personal attacks? Oh, yeah...

Just because nobody came out and said anything like that ever happened doesn't mean it didn't - and nobody actually came out and said anything specific to that era other than Jim was originally suicidal - even if only for a second, and it was obviously worse than that. It apparently got so tough for him to deal with the reality of Mary's death that he sent the boys off. That is documented - but not much else is.

Kim's story was in the third person, but primarily from the viewpoint of the 14-year old Paul, with all the slant on the scenes being coloured by the thoughts of this same teenager. I haven't met a teenager yet who doesn't see each and every action even remotely not to their liking as extreme anti-"them" actions. No, Kim's story wasn't for everyone - but no story is.

What I find repulsive is that her story was trounced and denounced completely even though it was scarcely begun. What I'd read was believable - but it wasn't finished, and until it is, we won't know how the situation will be resolved.
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Old May 03, 2004, 04:39 AM   #56
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No offence Sleepy but you need to take care not to project things on to The Beatles. Our own projections have nothing to do with The Beatles and their family members and their personal realities. Not do our projections tell us if if a story is well written or well researched or not, which is the bottom line in Beatles fiction. You choose to miss my point for whatever reason, but that is okay. Chat rooms are for exchanging of information and sometimes it is hard to "hear" one another when we feel passionate about a certain topic.

Mr. McCartney's character and what occurred post Mrs. McCartney's passing is well documented in dozens of well researched books in which Mike and Paul McCartney participated willingly. You make claim to "knowing" things may have happened, without producing back up in terms of actual quotes from any books.

Perhaps step back, do some research, read from more than one source, and then reply. In chat rooms sometimes people think shooting from the hip or answering posts asap is necessary, when sometimes stepping back and taking time to contemplate is more appropriate.

While it is nice to take up a cause, it is clear on some level that you are taking this discussion personally, which are not appropriate to this discussion, which is only about writing and research techniques for new writers of Beatles fiction. One comment struck me: "just because nobody came out to say something like that never happened doesn't mean it didn't..."

I want to humbly reply that if something is not documented, or has not been corroborated by Paul personally, it did not happen. Kim can speak for herself also, and may even be getting some good lessons from these exchanges.

Those here who work a lot in Beatles fiction are only saying that research and sticking to one's spirit and soul as documented is a good and professional thing to do and lends stories authenticity, and weight.

To make claim someone is an alcoholic or abusive who was anything but comes under the technical term of slander in publishing. This raises a red flag to those of us who are writers, publishers, editors.

Sending the McC boys off for a week to an Aunt's so they will not see him cry or grieve is normal and for some, a deeply caring gesture; a lot of parents who have lost a spouse choose to do so til they get things together, have time to regroup, so's not to freak their children out if they must cry.

The story was not denounced, rather, it was discussed in great depth and with much seriousness, and much constructive criticism was offered to a young writer. Help was offered to her before some habits in her writing are created, i.e. about research and sticking close to a person's spirit -- good lessons. Having worked for years in well known publishing houses, my comments were not offered indiscrimanately.

Take care all and thanks all for listening!
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Old May 03, 2004, 06:20 AM   #57
SleepyHead
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Default Re: I\'ve got some fanfics too :o)

Careful what you're responding to, dear. I did not ever say that Jim was an alcoholic, nor did I ever claim to know any such thing. In the over 300 books/interviews on the Beatles I've read (over 60 books of which are right here beside the computer, along with some 40+/- magazines) there is not one line of print that says Jim did not use alcohol in that time period. There is indeed reason to believe that for some duration of time, he was violent - at least in thought, and certainly towards himself. He only wanted to join his beloved Mary when she died - that's the classic euphemism for "suicidal". The subsequent sending of the boys to their aunt and uncle for a period of time supports the idea that he was unable to cope.

I'm not projecting anything - I'm participating in a reconstruction of the probable or possible actions of Jim after Mary died. I'm not passionate about it at all - I could personally care not one whit.

The fact is, you've scared Kim spitless - and other fictive writers as well. A dead person cannot sue for libel, slander, or defamation of character. One cannot sue on their behalf in most of the United States, and in places where the heirs can sue, the fact that by association Jim McCartney was a public figure places the onus of proving that statements were stated with malice or even negligence is upon the plaintiff. Since there are no statements to the direct contrary, Kim's assumption of Jim drowning his sorrow in liquor and the further extraction of the usual behaviour of a man under the influence of both alcohol and deep-seated grief cannot in any way hurt the reputation or earning potential of Jim McCartney.

Even Capone's heirs lost their lawsuit against Desilu for their entirely fictional story called "Big Train", an episode of "The Untouchables" where the entire storyline involved Capone's attempt to escape from prison. The courts were firm - the dead have lost all rights to sue for libel or privacy.

In another more relevant lawsuit:[ QUOTE ]
In Lyons v New Amer. Lib. (78 AD2d 723) the defendants were the publishers and authors of a fictional version of the detailed and sometimes frustrating search by the New York City Police Department to discover and ultimately apprehend the random killer who was commonly referred to as "Son of Sam". During a conversation among several New York City police officers engaged in the investigation, defamatory reference was made to the incompetence of a Sheriff headquartered in Malone, New York. Plaintiff was the Sheriff of Franklin County and maintained his office in Malone, New York. He brought suit to recover for libel. In dismissing the action the court noted: "The work clearly states that it is fiction and that, combined with plaintiff's admission that he did not participate in the Son of Sam investigation, requires the conclusion that the passage is not actionable" (p 724).

[/ QUOTE ]
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Old May 03, 2004, 07:46 AM   #58
angelgodiva
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Default Re: I\'ve got some fanfics too :o)

That Paul or any other member of Mr. McCartney's survivors cannot sue for libel is hardly the point; that's not even relevant. What is the point, or my point at least, is that as Beatles fans first, and as fan fiction authors second, our aim and our interest is (or should be) to tell a story that is entertaining, plausible, and that portrays the characters as realistically as possible based upon all the reliable information we have concerning those characters.
While there is certainly room for conjecture, that should be kept within reason.
However, whether a certain thing may conceiveably happened or not shouldn't be our main consideration. Our first consideration should be treating our real, human characters with the care and respect that they deserve.
This has been my point from the beginning of this discussion.
When I write a Beatles' story, as I work I keep in mind that this story might be read by one of the Beatles or by a member of their family. As a matter of fact, last year I did receive an email from a member of John's immediate family praising my characterization and portrayal of their relative, which meant more to me than anything anyone else could ever have said to me about the series. To me, that letter proved that I had handled his character well.
It matters to me, as it should matter to any writer of Beatles fiction, how the Beatles and/or their families would feel if they were to read my work. I am writing about these particular people because I care about them. Since I do care for them, I do not want to hurt or upset them in any way, and as I said before, if I ever got the slightest idea or indication that I was doing that, I would immediately stop.
I have written some stories dealing with abuse issues in the past, but not about factual people whose feelings could be put into jeopardy. With a fictional character, you can do whatever you please. With a real human being--well, I suppose you could do that. I mean, as you pointed out, since he is dead he couldn't sue me as a writer for saying insensitive things about him, and Paul couldn't do squat either--but my God, that is not the point!
The point is that I would never do that, because the last thing I would want to do is to hurt or upset these people I care about.For one thing, it wouldn't be kind. For another thing, and from other posts of yours that I have read, I feel that this would be important to you, it wouldn't be Christian...or, for those who hold other faiths, it wouldn't be morally right.
As far as scaring Kim spitless, I think it is more likely to horrify a new writier seeing how long this whole thing has raged on than the actual criticism--which was really constructive and offered in the spirit of love--has. All this talk of lawsuits can be daunting, but the possibility of lawsuits means so much less to me than hurting people I care about does.
I just feel that the main point is that we should do our best to portray these folks and their families as closely as possible to their documented personalities. The Beatles have given us all so much joy and happiness. I think it would be so wrong to repay them by hurting their feelings or upsetting their families in any way.
Frankly, I can't believe this topic is still so active. I really think that everything has already been said.
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Old May 03, 2004, 07:55 AM   #59
ShowTunes
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Default Re: I\'ve got some fanfics too :o)

[ QUOTE ]
SleepyHead Posted:
Paul wasn't beaten to a bloody pulp - at least not in Kim's story. It wasn't a sustained beating or anything like that, it was the swing of a man in pain, having failed to bring himself to a state of obliteration via the famed route of too much alcohol, and popping a smart-mouthed teen. Was young Paul smart-mouthed? Oh, definitely - a fact that is well documented on film. Is a parent in pain and under the influence likely to smack a youngun who sasses him? Very likely. Is a person under the influence likely to take a vaguely off-kilter statement as personally offending, or to any other anti-social extreme? Extremely likely. Is a teen likely to view such reactions from a parent as personal attacks? Oh, yeah...

[/ QUOTE ]



Believable, certainly. But good? Appropriate? Hard to say, since no one has yet told me how much beating there was overall. (Nor did I know that the story wasn't finished.) The issue for me isn't believability; it's whether that beating is the FOCUS of the story or just an event in the story. If the story exists solely or largely to show Paul being beaten, then it's a pointless story. Who wants to read a fake anecdote about Paul being beaten up? I realize that some people have a streak of sadism and get a forbidden thrill from accounts of torture and pain, but let's just say that it's a specialized interest that does not appeal to everyone.

(Aviva, I edited your post so it was easier to read with the quote. -- Susan)
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Old May 03, 2004, 01:52 PM   #60
peacenyc2004
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Default Re: I\'ve got some fanfics too :o)

I am sorry to say this to you Sleepy, you appear to be projecting again: we have scared Kim and other writers spitless? I doubt it! We hold no such power here. A good writer has a thick skin; a good writer invites constructive criticism; a good writer does not fear feedback. She also can write what she wants, bottom line, and I know many here have said that a few times. But in all writing, there is ethics to be aware of. Slandering Jim McC turned off quite a few people on this forum and there is reason for that. It was taking imagination to an extreme, and veering far from reality.

Whether her writing gains a small audience or a large audience depends on her talents. That its particular scope does not appeal to some or that some see a red flag with placing a dead person in situations they did not experience in reality is something others have a right to point out. As long as constructive criticism is mindfully shared, it is valid.

Enabling dicey writing habits like not doing research or one's homework or taking creative license to an extreme is not helping new writers trying to compose solid Beatles Fiction which will gain a wide audience.

Conjecturing that one's Father was an alcoholic or abusive is hurtful to those who are alive, and who knew the individual the best.

Your quote: "There is indeed reason to believe that for some duration of time, he (Jim) was violent - at least in thought, and certainly towards himself." This is projection. There is no proof of this, in any publication.

For someone who "does not care a whit" you appear to have given Jim McCartney and how he behaved after a personal loss some energy and thought. Why not take Paul and Mike McC at their words about how things unfolded?

From what I understand this forum is called" Paperback Writer's" and in part it is about writing Beatles Fiction and books written on the Beatles. I feel perplexed that your or anyone would be defensive about a topic such as writing Beatles fiction. Instead of reacting, we all must listen to what people who write fiction well are saying; if we disagree which is our right, then answer mindfully ~ not with sarcasm and superiority. Unmindful tone does not make anyone on a chat room right. I am new to this board, and given you are a moderator, you have an example to set in how people on this board may be spoken to--I take offence to your calling me "dear" for one.
It was uncalled for.

And on that note, I am off to enjoy the rest of my evening. Best to all.
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