Life Stories

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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kmet
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Re: Life Stories

Postby kmet » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:40 am

I would like to pose a question related to this. Has anyone found themselves in a situation where if they did write about some of their life events, someone in their life would be offended? I have had so many (at least in my opinion) true events that would make great stories, but family members would know that it was based on them. Sadly, though it's great material, I think I would be severing some ties.

Most importantly, should this stop me from writing it?

Myrtle
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Re: Life Stories

Postby Myrtle » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:52 am

Yes, I have. First write it as it happened. Don't publish that. Just stare at those pages for a long time. In that way, perhaps you can see stories that will be safe to publish.

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Re: Life Stories

Postby Myrtle » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:52 am

Yes, I have. First write it as it happened. Don't publish that. Just stare at those pages for a long time. In that way, perhaps you can see stories that will be safe to publish.

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mammamaia
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Re: Life Stories

Postby mammamaia » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:45 pm

i have, too... and one of the people whose only connection to it was that she owned the house of the title, where the story took place, threatened to sue, if i published the book... some of the characters' real-life counterparts most likely would have, too, so i wisely shelved the book...

before you even submit anything based on real people, you should consult a literary attorney and be apprised of what the consequences could be...

and be aware that publishers don't want to get sued, either, so why would they take on a book that could cost them a major settlement in a lawsuit that would probably keep them from publishing it?

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kmet
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Re: Life Stories

Postby kmet » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:12 pm

Wow, I hadn't meant to the point where they could sue. To put it bluntly, my mother married a, ahem, jerk when I was a kid. It's one of those things no one in the family really talks about; the elephant in the room. My story takes a few of his 'catch phrases', if you will, and dramatized them drastically. But, when I let a few friends read it, the first question out of everyone's mouth was whether or not my mother had read my story.

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mammamaia
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Re: Life Stories

Postby mammamaia » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:14 pm

which means the character/s can be recognized, so you do need to be sure you're not at risk of being sued, if he's [any are] still alive...

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josephrowe
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RE: Life Stories

Postby josephrowe » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:40 am

I've just completed my memoirs and they are at my editor. I consider Given a Way to be non-fiction in that there is nothing in it that is unfaithful to reality as I remember it. I did omit a few things that I thought would be embarrasing to others and I did create conversations which may not have happened as stated in order to convey the essence of my memories in a readable and entertaining fashion.

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RE: Life Stories

Postby bkmama » Mon May 17, 2010 4:53 am

my life story is full of drama so i think it would be interesting as a novel. i might tweak things here and there but like i said, my life story is extremely action-filled.

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Re: Life Stories

Postby hwhittle » Tue May 18, 2010 1:00 am

My life experiences have offered enough material for everyone here to write best sellers! Anything but boring, my life will definitely lend itself to fiction. Others may not be able to learn from my mistakes, but I'm sure they can be entertained by them!

Heather

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RE: Life Stories

Postby rangercookies » Wed May 19, 2010 8:54 am

I've already got a fiction book idea based on a certain event in my life. Of course, it would have to be jazzed up a bit, but it's a really cool premise.

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