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QUESTION: I am interested in writing a crime novel that involved two homicides. What are the legal complications involved with this? Such as the parents, children, State, local gov., etc...
I was this kids step-father when he was 10 but at 25 he killed two and was caught. I am a writer and would like to get the real story from him, more than told at the trial. I would give a % to family, children, etc... to get a go ahead. Probably a written release would work with them. What else?? Thanks

ANSWER: Do not write about actual murders that you know about-- unless you are apt enough to change all aspects to fictionalize it as tv does-- or you will have legal issues and grief-- cause grief.

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

QUESTION: Well that was a very brief answer but I suppose it was right to not dwell into the complicated issues. Is there no protection for the writer to write these stories? I believe the total story is yet to be revealed.
As far as grief-do we run from that if there is truth to be told?

Answer
Hello Bill,

If you really want to write this story, from whatever angle, if you can get his permission, and other people's permission to use the real names and facts, then you can legally.

I would hire a literary attorney, or one that is familiar with those legalities, and get him to write up the letter(s) and get their signatures.

Usually however, anyone that is willing to sign, wants a percentage of the sale of the book.

The grief is placing the book into the faces of the victim's families, and anyone else involved, and even the step-son's mother and family.

They are the ones that needs to agree to the book.

If you do get the attorney and all the "go aheads" legally, then you are free to write the story.

I am sure this is a good story, being the step-father of the (I am sorry to use the term) murderer, and can shed a really interesting light on the story from your personal view.

Good luck with the permissions and the story and success of the book!

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Jannie Balliett

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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.

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

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

Publications
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.

Education/Credentials
Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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

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