Friday, January 16, 2009
Q & A 165
Advice to writers usually includes "write what you know." But how does one write fiction based on personal experiences without damaging one’s friends and relations? Is it enough to change names and other identifying details? I’m not concerned about getting sued for libel so much as about offending or embarrassing other people or passing on information about them that shouldn’t really be public.
Do not allow those upon whom you've based your characters to read your book. After it's published, of course, you won't be able to avoid this, but by then you'll be off on your forty-city book tour, and will have forgotten all about the little people whose lives you trampled on in your quest to reach the top.
Another suggestion: write only about the good stuff your friends have done. Make up villainous characters for the evil stuff, or base those characters on Evil Editor. I won't sue you or get offended. As long as my inspiration is acknowledged.
Also, you could ask your friends how they would feel about your including the embarrassing incident involving the vacuum cleaner and the emergency room in your novel. Possibly they would be delighted. Possibly they're over it and you're worrying needlessly.
Posted by Evil Editor at 1:23 PM