Writing About Real People

When I read this essay from a memoir author, I recalled how often asked about work that involves real people. Often for memoir and biography authors, the question arises about whether to include events that would cause someone else pain. Even novelists and short story writers can face the same concerns when they mine their lives for material.

The pain can be as simple as a little embarrassment over a minor slip to revealing criminal activities. Remember that I’m not talking about legal aspects of the work; the question here is only about whether to write about things that will cause someone else pain.

Your truth is your truth. If you are driven to write your truth, there’s a reason for it. Honor that reason. Honor your truth.

Yes, that can be the difficult road to take. But writing in and of itself isn’t an easy pathway. The truth is often ugly, even harsh. It still shines because that is the nature of truth.


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