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Writing Books/Fiction or non-fiction?


Dear J.L.,

I want to write a novel based on my life experience growing up in another country - I want to
describe    quite a few characters, including myself, my family, friends, and
former classmates. My hometown is going to be an important character by itself -
I want to describe it detail.

However, I want to stay away from creating yet another  memoir. I will change the
names of the characters, but I don't want to alter descriptions of particular
situations, although I probably will enhance the narration with made up things. Am I safe from the legal point of view? And should I present it as a
fiction or non-fiction?

Thank you!

Hello Jennya,

Anything made up should be deemed fiction. Using past experiences as a base for a fictional piece is not unheard of. I would recommend you change names or get written specific permission from those people you are basing your characters on.

Otherwise, I can't see anything that would create problems. Always safer to use fictional names and keep away from very specific and identifying situations that would offend. Good luck,


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J.L. Slipak


Novel writing is my specialty but I've several articles advocating for human rights and the rights of special needs. I've also written children stories, historical romance, fantasy, trilogies, and non-fiction. I have editorial experience and have worked with literary agents, self-publishing, publishing companies in both the United States and Canada. I imagine I can answer any questions asked about this field, and if not, can direct the question to someone who could.


six articles, two novels, three children's books, two triologies and currently working on an auto-biography

BFA, working towards my masters

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