The content of my book will be controversial, provocative, sensitive and explicit. My story is a true account of how an upperclassman at a prestigious Atlanta college planned and executed a string of multiple rapess in 1962. Drug rape is nothing new! However, the perpetrator is protected by the Statute of Limitations.
Can I use the "real" names of the perpetrator and the witnesses involved without being sued?
And, at the same time, can I use a "penn" name when I write it?
Also ... and this is my biggest hurdle .... how in the heck do I stretch 5000 words into enough words to make it a sellable book?
Geeze, I need help! Some of the witnesses are dead and I don't feel to good myself!
Thanks for your time!
As long as you're telling the truth, they can't sue you. What they would need to prove in court, essentially, is that you're intentionally defaming their character. But since you're simply telling the truth (hopefully in order to serve the public interest), you would fall under the protection most journalists enjoy. Thus, their "private life" would be necessary public information. If they tried to sue your future publisher, they would probably be laughed out of court.
Yes, you can use a pen name.
5,000 words is barely a short story. If you want, I would be happy to take a look at what you have so far and offer any advice I can, as well as give you some writing tips for along the line. For that type of thing, based on the size, I typically charge around $150, but I could definitely help point you in the right direction.