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Question
I am working on a book inspired by real events.  Some of the real life characters have agreed to interviews.  Some of the material will have to be fictionalized.  What can I do to prevent being sued for libel?  Is it enough to disclose 'inspired by real events, some of the material has been fictionalized' in a preface?  I don't have any intention of saying anything negative about those involved.  I do however want to include information on real events and actual places.

Answer
An attorney can make what you say is not negative into a negative in a court for libel.

So, don't put yourself at risk-- some people will make something out of nothing and see $$$$ signs....

....get written, notarized permission to use any factual information about the real names of people interviewed "if they give you" their written permission to use their names.

Anything non-fiction requires written permission, preferably a contract drawn up by an attorney for these people to sign, otherwise, keep it all fiction.

A clause as you mentioned is some minuscule protection- but not enough.


A writer always has to fictionalize some to improve the non-fiction, just as in movies based on real stories.  

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Jannie Balliett

Expertise

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.

Experience


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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