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Writing Books/Biography question


If I am going to write a biography of myself and there will be characters that will not sound positive how do I avoid insulting them, if my book is published? My book will be on how I came to America illegaly raised in poverty, abandanded by a husband and left with 5 sons.  Yet I did not give up.  I went to school, educated myself and raised my sons alone.  My message to all single mothers out there on the Welfare rolls.  YOU TO CAN DO IT!!!

Hello Rose:

The best way for you to avoid insulting the people in your life who have had a negative effect on you is to tell the absolute truth, not exaggerating it for effect, nor downplaying what happened and its effect on you.

I would suggest you contact these people and tell them you are writing the story of your life and that certain events involving them will be included. No one has the right to tell you what you may write about and what you may not, so don't worry too much about this. The worst that could happen is that they could sue you for libel, but that is only possible if you lie about them, and so harm their reputation (assuming they have one to harm). If it would make you feel more comfortable, you might ask them for a note giving you permission to relate the incident truthfully.

From getting an idea for a book and having one published is a huge step that may take years, so instead of worrying about what will happen afterwards, concentrate on writing the book. Once it's done, and you find a publisher, that's time enough to think about releases and things.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 670+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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