Memoir is Not Revenge – The legality of using real names.

memoir

 

When I started writing memoir, someone said they had no desire for revenge and so they would never write memoir.

But memoir is not about revenge. And you shouldn’t write memoir to get revenge.

Basically, it is believed, a writer can use an actual name of a real person because we all have our points of view and, if they disagree with yours, they can write your own.

 

 

HOWEVER, consider these things:

  1. Why do you feel the need to use that person’s full name? Is it for revenge?
  2. Don’t give enough information so any reader might contact them. All you need these days is a name, city, and google.
  3. Do you feel so strongly about using their real name that you want to face a possible lawsuit; whether or not they will win, they may be granted a day in court.

In the memoir pieces I’ve written, I’ve made minor changes to names. This gives anyone in the piece deniability if they’re ever asked whether or not they are the person in my writing; as well, it doesn’t necessarily point to them, and I am able to defend myself should anyone be looking to sue me. Or, in other words, I have deniability.

Published by

Noreen Lace

Originally from the Midwest, Noreen Lace received an MFA from California State University where she now teaches. She believes in the beauty of language to express the darkness in life. She is the author of two novellas, West End and Life of Clouds, as well as a book of short stories. Here in the Silence. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in national as well as international journals, including The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal, The Oleander Review, Vine Leaves Press (Australia), Silver Stream Journal (Ireland), Pilcrow and Dagger, Fishfood, and others. "Memorial Day Death Watch," a memoir of her father's passing, placed as a finalist in Writer Advice, while her poem, "All at Once," was published as a finalist in Medusa's Laugh Contest issue. More work is always in progress.

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