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Writing Books/Can I have legal issues for a true story novel?

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Question
I've being thinking for quite a while to write the story of my life, in particular my youth. Unfortunately, although the plot would make for good reading, I'm a bit afraid to do it as it would incriminate quite a few people, in particular my parents, my ex-boyfriend and a lot of people in relation to him; and especially the health authorities.
If everything I write in the book is true, can they still sue me?
What if my memory fails me on something? Can I be put in jail for that?

Answer
Good question-- and the answer is a touchy one.

When any author uses the real identity of people in his book, he opens himself to legal issues. You can be sued.

The only time one might be safe is when they write something neutral or complimentary about that person.

Any defamatory information is subject to legal law suits of character.

I would suggest asking an attorney (most give a free consultation) or simply change the names of the people involved in your book, and write it under a author pen name.

If you really are intent on your own name as the author, then it is an open source for investigation to the public to learn the true identities of your parents, etc. so, contact the proper attorney about that.

Your family can sue you. It's slander. The truth is only as one perceives it-- and just because you told your side, does not make it true-- therefore, they can claim it is untrue and sue you. Also, the health industry will sue. They have millions of dollars to loose by slanderous information of their name.

It's always best for an author to get attorney advise and counsel beforehand.

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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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