View Full Version : Personal narrative...sort of....

12-05-2006, 05:04 AM
I'm writing a novel that is fiction, but inspired by my life. I am taking elements from my life for the story, as well as creating characters based on people in my life.

My question is this: in light of the James Frey...debacle, where is the line between fiction and nonfiction? There are elements to my story that people will recognize as truth (or partial truth), but it is predominantly fiction. How do I cover my butt?

aka eraser
12-08-2006, 06:43 PM
I don't think there's a simple answer to this (hence the dearth of replies). Maybe the best way to cover your butt is to ensure you change enough of the details that folks may think they recognize themselves but nothing can be proven.

If/when you get to the publication stage, the pub and their legal department will help you tweak what might need tweaking and run whatever disclaimers are warranted.

Good luck.

12-17-2006, 08:00 PM
Yes, I'd change the location, the names [of course] a good way to keep track for yourself is to change the name, but use the same initial as the person in real life. For example, Fred would become 'Frank' in your book. Change the way Frank looks, make his eyes brown instead of blue, etc.

That's what I'd do anyway....

01-06-2007, 02:26 AM
But when is it determined that it should be read as a fictional novel or a memoir? If you're conjuring up all the details of your life why not say "yea, it happened to me" and maybe help or reassure somebody.... instead of having readers say "gosh, that same thing happened to me, but this is fiction, maybe I'm the crazy one..."?

This is my problem. Do I want people to know that I did these things? Though I know half the women in California alone did the same thing I did....do I want to fess up?