|Subject: ||Writing About Incriminating Events|
||Hi, I am really considering writing about my
experiences and challenges as a person who comes from another country as an international student and I have years of
experiences to talk about,from when I was a preteen to the present.The problem I have is that I would like to write it as
a nonfiction using the first person point of view.It would be nice because it would make it more personal,and it is a personal
The problem comes in when speaking about matters that might be crossing the lines of legality or just perhaps
being ethically unsound.I wouldn't want to hurt my family's reputation or my own but then again on the other hand,I
don't want to write it as a fiction and creating a totally fictional family and writing it in third person.
you have any advice for me?Is it possible to make it fiction based on fact and just mention in the beginning that some events
are actual and some are fictionalized and then still write it in first person,as if the main character were me? If I did that
then could I possibly be tried in court for some of the things I may have said?
Thanks for any advice.
|Answer: ||Yes, there is a possibility of liable for naming real people and unsavory events, etc.|
But since it's
"your family," why can't you get their written permission to include them in your non-fiction book?
I imagine, the only way they would not allow you to name and use them, is if there is some negative information.
If you can not obtain permission from any of them, or can for just some, I would suggest renaming the ones that will
not give permission, and use the real names for the ones that do give their permission.
And, as you stated in your
question, insert a statement in the beginning of the book about some people and events are fictionalized to protect their
identities and for literary entertainment purpose.
This should work for those that do not want to be identified
and won't give permission.
In general; household names can be used: celebrities, name brands, etc. IF
used in brief, and in a good light. No negativity.
Name brands are always capitalized: Coca-Cola, Kodak,
Whenever a writer is presenting an autobiography, biography, and non-fiction book; they must
speak of someone favorably to prevent liability for slander, defamation of character, and more, etc.
The only method
to protect yourself, the writer/author, is to use the opening statement (as you see on some television shows and in books)
that some parts are fictional and some are non-fictional.
Good luck with your endeavor, and you might consult with
a literary attorney on this before proceeding. It would be worth the cost and the effort.
By the way, your English
|---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------|
you for that quick response. If i put the disclaimer on the introduction and use fabricated characters with different names
based on the people involved in my events then it should be okay even if the people in real life are able to identify themselves
in the book?
The more important question,however, is if I decide to write the story as fiction based on fact,
should I just write it in first person point of view as my own account, or would it be possible for me to use a fictional
character with a similar name and still use the first person point of view?The reason why I'm asking is because I don't
want readers to negatively judge my actions or thoughts in the book.
Answer: I believe, you have "your life and the people in it" as the story and plot all in itself.
Readers like 3rd person narrative and, this gives you, the writer, unlimited room to write the story and "tell"
(actually "show" never "tell") the story without the limitations of 1st person.
1) You already
have the story: plot, subplots, and climatic ending
2) You already have all the characters, and can add fictional
characters to enhance the story plot
3) You can then write in the 3rd person narrative, and be free of limitations
4) Genre it "fictional" and there is no liability (no one can prove or disprove 'who'
the characters are because it is written, published, and marketed as "fiction."
So there you