Writing Books/Disclaimer


QUESTION: I have written a fiction.  The story is based on a true story.  To be exact, it's
the fascinating life story of my mother-in-law (wrote the book upon her
request).  I changed all names and places, as well as many events but I'm sure
if certain family members read the book, they will recognize themselves and
not be happy about it.  Do I need to do a disclaimer or am I covered since I
changed names, and locations?  My mother-in-law is willing to sign
something saying she authorized the writing of the book.

ANSWER: You are crossing two boundaries here.

One is non-fiction with your mother-in-law and her permission, and the other is fiction with changed names and locations; yet they both entwine.

You are going to need to present it as a "fiction" piece with a disclaimer in the front, so no one will be able to sue you for liable for similarities.

It is best to change your mother-in-law's name and all locations and everything-- so in essence, you will be writing a fiction book using real examples to base it- yet none can be proved as such.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Can you suggest wording for the disclaimer?  Thank you.

You can copy the disclaimer that appears on the television show Law & Order or the like.

Something along the lines of:

This book is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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