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WHOSE STORY IS IT?


By CarolynCHolland(9,534) CarolynCHolland

Posted Thursday, January 24, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by CarolynCHolland


Click on THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW: Things Writers Should Know to read the latest post on writing, posted in the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, Volume 2 at www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com and filed in the category WRITING ARTICLES.

---WRITTEN BY Carolyn C. Holland

As I scoot about the house picking up clutter I wonder what I can add to the Beanery Writers Group blog.

My mind strays to my writing. I’ve dabbled in photojournalism, journaling, magazine writing, grant writing and now---a full length two-part novel.

When I write, I must ask, whose story am I telling? If the subject is someone else, to publicize it I must have that person’s permission. There is at least one exception. Hard news---accidents, fires, etc. require that I write the “who, what, where, when and how." In one category of hard news, sexual violence against women, the victim’s name is usually not used---although, unfortunately, there is often enough information that some readers can identify the victim.

Feature writing differs in that the story cannot be written without interviewing the subject. If s/he declines to be interviewed, the best of stories cannot be written.

If I am writing a memoir, I grant myself permission to write about myself. No problem.
The author’s memoir not only involves other persons but if it is a story, it revolves around conflict. Perhaps the author’s parents physically abused her/him as a child. Obviously the parents will deny permission to use their names in the story if they are asked. Does the author still use the parents’ names, or even her/his own name, which identifies the parents?

If it’s a family history, or even my memoir, other individuals are usually involved---no person is an island, and no one’s story stands alone. What about these people? Can you write about them without their permission because your story intersects with theirs?  At what point do you need to ask their permission?

The waters muddy more when you’re writing fiction whose characters are based on people you know---circumstances may make it obvious who you are REALLY         writing about, whose story is being written.

Be aware of writing about others without their permission. At the very least you may create bad feelings. At the most, you may break relationships and/or end up with a lawsuit.

To read other articles on writing in the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, Volume 1, web hosted at www.ProBlogs.com/beanerywriters, scroll down the site or click onto the following:

WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW, or WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT
Whose Story Is It?
BE HISTORICALLY CORRECT
Self-Publishing
Who Cares?
Censorship?
DEVELOPING CHARACTERS IN NOVEL WRITING
MY EDITOR, MY MENTOR





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Posted to ProBlogs.com on Thursday, January 24, 2008
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