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Mania
07-16-2007, 07:33 PM
I'm currently thinking about writing about something that happened to me a couple of years ago when I met someone on the internet, but I need some advice. Two things I'm not sure on are whether to use real names and whether to write it from my perspective. I haven't tried this before, but I feel like I really want to put my experience down in words. I'm afraid it wasn't a pleasent time to go through. Is there a market for this type of book?
Also, where do I start? A lot of things that I would write about came about for a reason and I'm not sure whether to start with the reason, if you know what I mean.
Any advice would be useful. Thanks :)

IrishScribbler
07-16-2007, 08:58 PM
This is something I'm sort of working on myself. My next project will be writing about an abusive relationship, but I'm writing it as personal fiction rather than memoir or autobiography.

I would recommend changing names, first of all. Not only is it respectful to those involved, but it helps protect you.

Something else I would recommend would be to go get a journal and start writing it as a journal entry and see how it goes. If it flows well and you like it, write it from your perspective. If it reads too much like a high school diary or a laundry list of events, try writing it in third-person.

I hope this helps!

Sakamonda
07-16-2007, 09:11 PM
"something that happened to me a couple of years ago when I met someone on the internet"

I have no idea if there is a market for this or not, because you haven't said what your book is about. You need to craft something more concise before anyone can give you feedback.

Actually, my advice on whether to change names or not is this: my agent told me to write as straightforward a memoir as possible, in first person and using real names. You don't need to worry about whether/how to change names/details until you have a publishing deal on the table. Publishers of memoirs have legal departments who are experts in minimizing libel risk in memoirs, and you are best off making your changes on the advice of a publisher's attorneys. To do it earlier than that is premature. Also, given the numerous rather high-profile fabricated memoirs that have been published lately, publishers are hypervigilant to ensure that what you write is indeed true and verifiable. That's easier to do if you use real names----at least in a pre-publication draft.

Mania
07-16-2007, 09:20 PM
Thanks for the advice.

The book's basically about meeing a 24 year old American online when I was about 16-17. Then, when we finally hooked up, I hated him. We only ever got on well when we were drunk and then my Mum became involved. It involves her a lot as well as she basically drumped me and my family for him, literally. This is why I'm worried about using real names. I don't want to hurt anyone, but at the time, I was slightly unstable and it has really affected me.

I've heard a lot about internet relationship stories, but I think this goes a bit further than that.

Sakamonda
07-16-2007, 10:40 PM
I'd say, go ahead and write the book, and once you have a completed draft, come back here for feedback.

Little Red Barn
07-16-2007, 10:50 PM
Thanks for the advice.

The book's basically about meeing a 24 year old American online when I was about 16-17. Then, when we finally hooked up, I hated him. We only ever got on well when we were drunk and then my Mum became involved. It involves her a lot as well as she basically drumped me and my family for him, literally. This is why I'm worried about using real names. I don't want to hurt anyone, but at the time, I was slightly unstable and it has really affected me.

I've heard a lot about internet relationship stories, but I think this goes a bit further than that.
Mania,
Interesting story and you most certainly do not have to complete your work to get feedback here. We have a Share Your Work forum you can take advantage of. There is a wealth of info here. Start writing and visit often. :)

Mania
07-17-2007, 05:20 PM
Thanks, Kimmi!

I will post the first part of it when I'm finished with it in the Share Your Work forum.

pollykahl
07-21-2007, 07:02 AM
HI Mania, I replied to your post in Share Your Work and now, having read this, it makes much more sense.

I think Sakamonda's advice about writing it with real names is important. Leave it up to the legals to change it later if need be. I am curious though Saka, what memoirs you were referring to when you said "Also, given the numerous rather high-profile fabricated memoirs that have been published lately, publishers are hypervigilant to ensure that what you write is indeed true and verifiable." Other than Frey, I can't think of any that have actually been fabricated, and I'm pretty up on memoirs. The only other high-profile memoir writer that has been accused of fabrication that I can think of is A. Burroughs, and the consensus seems to be that it's a case of a disgruntled dysfunctional family who just won't cop to what really happened. What other "high-profile fabricated memoirs " are you referring to?

Keep writing Mania. It sounds like a very painful situation and at the very least it will be cathartic. Good luck to you.

Sakamonda
07-21-2007, 05:33 PM
I'm thinking specifically of Frey (of course), as well as JT Leroy, who wrote memoir-disguised-as-fiction using a fake identity, all the time insisting that the memoir-disguised-as-fiction books she wrote were based on the fake JT Leroy's life. I'm also thinking of Kaavya Viswanathan (who granted, wrote fiction, but got caught plagiarizing other authors and had her plagiarized book yanked from shelves (for which she'd received a half-million dollar deal) right around the same time the Frey scandal broke.

There was also the memoir "by" the nonexistent person Anthony Goodby Johnson called "A Rock and a Hard Place: One Boy's Triumphant Story", which became a NYT bestseller despite the fact its supposed author did not actually exist, and therefore could not be considered a memoir (it was a complete fabrication, to the point that there was a Dateline NBC investigation on who actually wrote it, and why). The investigation found that a retired schoolteacher who claimed to be Goodby Johnson's adoptive mother wrote the "memoir" as a fabrication; in reality she had no children, and posed as her nonexistent "son" on the phone with editors.

Lastly, there was the "Nasdijj" scandal, in which three memoirs supposedly written by a Navajo Indian with fetal alcohol syndrome turned out to be fabrications written under a false identity. That hoax was perpetrated (to his great financial reward) by a white guy from North Carolina named Timothy Patrick Barrus, and I believe the author's fraud was ultimately exposed by Vanity Fair magazine.

The issue surrounding Burroughs' book is indeed a case of the people involved in his true story being upset about how they were portrayed, and they are suing based on "breach of privacy", though it seems unlikely they will win. Still, that case, along with all the above complete fabrications, makes publishers' legal departments hypervigilant about verifiability in memoir.//

Anthony Ravenscroft
07-21-2007, 09:17 PM
I'm old enough to have been part of the "journaling" era, so I do encourage people to keep some sort of life-log. It's a powerful thing, it's a great tool to help yourself grow, & maybe someday a grandkid or two will treasure it.

But for the most part it's not something any given individual should write with an eye to commercial sales (much less "success").

Write it because you need to, not because you think someone else should give you money for it. When fraud pops up, it can usually be traced to an overbalance of the latter.

Mania
07-27-2007, 07:16 PM
I don't like the idea of writing for money, but then I don't necessarily need to write this. I want to. It's difficult to say why I want to write it. In the end, I guess it's changed me as a person.

Thanks, Pollykahl! I read your post in Share your Work and know what you're saying as to the fact that you couldn't tell what it was about, but I like leaving a few secrets until last. I enjoy developing things as a person does, if you understand what I mean.