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Writing Books/self or third person

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Question
Ok, since my book is of my own experiences,
do books written in a third person style have
a advantage of not being biased?
 If I write it soley from me are there pitfalls or limits I should avoid?
 When I cite documents of the government or others is there no limit of elaboration, or is there a point the book could be percieved as
possable defamation? The people I'll write of in government are incompetent to the extent they are actually worthless.  

Answer
Hello Darrel:

Books written in "third person style" have no advantage of "not being biased" as far as I know. If you have a bias it will very likely come out, whatever point of view you choose. As to whether third person point of view will help hide your bias, only the reader can answer that.

If I understand your question correctly, you are concerned about "defamation," which I take to mean you are worried about libeling someone, and perhaps being sued. In fact, you are free to write (publish/make available to public) anything about anyone you want, with no risk of being sued SO LONG AS WHAT YOU SAY IS TRUE, and you can prove it is true. In order to sue you, the plaintiff must prove (1) that you lied; (2) that he has a reputation to protect, and (3) the lie(s) you told have injured his reputation to the tune of X dollars.

You are also allowed to publish your opinion. If you write "Mr. X wrote a document which was full of lies," that is not your opinion, but an assertion that can be proved or disproved. If you say, "Mr. X is the biggest liar who ever lived," that is an opinion. Who can prove whether he is the "biggest" liar? If you write that "Mr. X is incompetent," you had better be prepared to prove it. If you write "Mr. X is worthless," or "a worthless human being," that's your opinion.

There's a fine line to walk here. A good rule of thumb is, if you can't prove it, don't say it.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 370+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand

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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 http://pygmypress.com, 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.

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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.

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BA degree in Written Communication

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