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Writing Books/fiction based on true story


I am writing about a true murder story that happened approx. 55 years ago in a different state. It was a double homicide and was never solved. The story was told to me by my friend, who was closely involved in this as a child. I am using fictional names of characters and businesses, but was wanting to use the correct city and state. I am writing factual information about the history of this city during this period, which I pulled from the internet. What do I need to know about the legal aspect of this? Is it necessary to include a bibliography?  The people involved in this are deceased, and my friend gave me permission to write the book. Thanks for your help.

Hello Wanda,

Sounds interesting. As long as you are changing names and businesses, I can't see any issues with using a correct city and state. With mysteries, I find the use of factual information only serves to make the story more enticing and believable.

Make sure you get written permission from your friend just in case it becomes a best seller and makes you a lot of money <wink>. I wouldn't worry about a bibliography, although sometimes, a subnote can be added at the end of the book about the unsolved murder case. It's up to you.

If you are still in doubt, it never hurts to get a lawyer's take on this.

Good luck and looking forward to reading your best seller!


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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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