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I'm 13 years old and I'm writing a story called 'Destiny'. This book is a fanfiction of the TV-Show "Merlin" (the TV series 2008) and I've added a character into it. There currently is no book of Merlin, so would it be okay to publish this book or would I have to get permission from the directors and creators of Merlin? It's not complete yet, but I really want to publish a book on it one day.

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    Welcome to Writing.SE Frosty! There has been a question in one of the answers: are you talking about the legendary character or about a TV show? I have heard of one show at least, but could you edit your question to say which medium you are writing a fanfiction for? If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! – Secespitus Feb 13 '18 at 9:03
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    I've rolled back your edit. Firstly, if you have a new question, please ask a new question instead of changing an existing one. Secondly, it's considered bad practice to edit a question in such a way that it invalidates the existing answers, so please don't do that. – F1Krazy Mar 14 '18 at 14:24
  • I'm sorry I dont really know how to use this, please do excuse me, I hope I didn't offend you or anything but I just don't reallly know how to work this thin which is not helpful at all, sorry for the late reply I've been dealing with school work – Quotev Frosty Apr 23 '18 at 14:06
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Fan fiction is a legal gray area, but in general these days, most shows will ignore it UNLESS you are trying to make money from it in some way --in which case they will definitely come after you (lawyers always follow the money!). That means publication as an actual novel is out. It's also 100% sure you would be denied permission if you did ask, not because you're a kid, but because when they get ready to publish a book, they will hire an established author.

On the other hand, however, most popular shows have active communities of fan-fiction writers and readers. Some shows actually even encourage those communities. If you can find a community like that, you'll have a place to post your work, get feedback, and maybe even build a fan base of your own. You might even have more people reading your work than if it was a book.

I don't personally enjoy fan fiction, but millions of people do, and some very big and famous writers got their start that way. So keep on writing, share your work with other Merlin fans, and you'll be well on your way to writing an original novel with your own all-new characters and setting one day.

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Of course you would need the permission of the creators. A fanfiction is always based on something existing and you are not allowed to earn money with it. Only if the creators allow that.

And allow me to say that: With 13 most of my stories were underdeveloped and hadn't shown any sign of something, that could suck the readers in and hold them.

As hard it is to say (but you wouldn't ask if you wanted to be sugarcoated), but why should an million dollar producer, pay a 13 year old to write a story, if he could get Stephen King for example. As long as you didn't make a name as writer, have connections into the field of work or are related to some famous writer, the chances are very near to 0 to publish a fanfiction to an existing story.

There is a writer, who got famous with a fanfiction (E. L. James), but even she changed the characters, places and names as she published the story as book.

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  • But isn't the same for actors? Why pay a 12 year old millions of dollars to act? – Quotev Frosty Feb 13 '18 at 8:09
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    Not all 13 yr olds are the same. Some are geniuses,and Frosty might be one of them. As to publishing a fan fiction, as said above you need permission from the creators of Merlin and I doubt they'd give you the go ahead so easily. You're not the only one writing Merlin fan fiction. Still, you could ask if you really want to publish the story. Otherwise do what 50 shades of grey has done. Change everything- the places names, the characters names, the plot, etc. And it will end as your original story. – A.T. Catmus Feb 13 '18 at 8:18
  • Yeah you could argue with that ... but it's mostly uncommon that anyone could be actor. You have to go through auditions, interviews, make promotional videos and then there is a slight chance you can get the permission to participate in a show. I didn't say you could never publish the book for the series. I just noted that it would be very unlikely that you would get the permission for it. – Pawana Feb 13 '18 at 10:02
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    Why pay a 12 year old millions ... Because no adult (not even a little person) can successfully pull off being a 12 year old. In acting, physical appearance counts, and it is actually difficult to find a 12 year old with the right "look" for the part when on camera, that can also act: Pretend the cameras and 30 crew members aren't there, and the half built sets and plastic props and fake food are all real, and still take direction (from the director) and at "Action!" cry on cue, or laugh, or be angry or frightened. Studios would pay less if they could! But the talent is extremely rare. – Amadeus-Reinstate-Monica Feb 13 '18 at 13:12
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What do you mean by Merlin? The legendary character of Arthurian legend who is in the public domain and anyone can write and publish story about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiction_featuring_Merlin

Or specifically from a TV show or story featured on the list? That might be more complicated...you might have to read up on copyright law from your country.

Whether your fiction is good enough to be published is another matter.

Edit: If you do indeed mean the 2008 series, then what might help you determine if you need permission is actually reading up on the stories of Merlin that the show is based on(start with the Wikipedia article and go from there). That way you can determine what aspects of your story belong to the TV writers and which ones are fair game and are just part of the Merlin myth which is in the public domain.

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    Welcome to Writing.SE! I am pretty sure this is about a TV show (maybe this one?), judging by the fact that "There currently is no book of Merlin". Could you elaborate on what problems the OP might encounter with the copyright law? Is there something else that "might be more complicated"? Currently this is a bit short and doesn't really answer the question of whether the OP needs to get permission or not. If you think the OP should clarify some things that should be asked in comments, which you can write once you have 50 reputation. – Secespitus Feb 13 '18 at 9:01
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    You might want to read How can one link / merge / combine / associate two accounts / users? (Anonymous / unregistered / cookie, or OpenID / registered) This answer was originally posted by an unregistered user, but judgning by your (quite unique) username I take it that you registered. Combining the accounts will allow you to collect the rep you may get from this answer and collecting rep will unlock privileges, such as voting or commenting. – Secespitus Feb 13 '18 at 11:09
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The short answer is NO, you don't have to ask for permission. Merlin, and the characters associated with him, were created in around the 1680's according to this site (a very interesting read - with video included):

https://firemark.com/2016/02/18/can-name-characters-famous-characters-old-book-entertainment-law-asked-answered/

If you are taking from a series, for example using Thor and Loki directly from the Marvel Universe, then maybe need check. Characters can be trademarked, but the names themselves cannot be trademarked because they've appeared in much older works. Another example is Tolkien's characters names, taken directly from mythology (although the characters are different).

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    The question seems to be about a TV show, judging by "There currently is no book of Merlin" and "I've added a character into it" looks to me like the OP is taking the TV show as a basis and then writing a story in that specific universe. The question is not about the name Merlin. If you think the question needs to clarify whether or not the OP is talking about the original characters or a TV show you should write a comment, which you can do once you have 50 reputation. – Secespitus Feb 13 '18 at 9:18
  • @Secespitus Good to know and thank you for clarifying, and will do that in the future. Yes, I realized that too late after reading your initial comment. I had never heard of the series, didn't occur to me thats what was meant by fan-fiction of a name of a legendary folkloric character. – Carlo Feb 13 '18 at 10:08

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