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As long as it doesn’t impact the story, changing Linda, the waitress at the Burger Barn, to Cynthia from the Hamburger Hut might save Linda some awkwardness.And if you’ve fudged the facts about her, changing Linda’s name just might save you from a lawsuit, but there is no guarantee.
Readers must assume that they are reading a biased interpretation of events as they view them through the author’s eyes.
The basic facts are there, but the author is reporting his or her own version of those facts.
The implied pact between writer and reader is this: I am telling you the truth, but the truth as it is filtered through my eyes.
Legal pitfalls: While the people and places mentioned in creative nonfiction pieces are still around, writers often change the names of characters in their work to avoid conflict.
Here you will gain an introduction to six major forms of creative nonfiction— memoir, personal essay, feature articles, profiles, reviews, and travel writing. It’s a sampler platter, with no pressure to work on a specific project or settle on which type of nonfiction you prefer.
If you’re eager to explore the endless possibilities of nonfiction, your guided tour begins here.Protect yourself by getting written permission from people you wish to write about.And if they are no longer living, make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for a lawsuit from their family.The genre of creative nonfiction (also known as literary nonfiction) is broad enough to include travel writing, nature writing, science writing, sports writing, biography, autobiography, memoir, the interview, and both the familiar and personal essay.Nonfiction—pieces that spring from the real world—is everywhere. And nonfiction has grown more diverse and creative than ever, embracing all styles from straight to zany to lyrical, encompassing every topic imaginable from schoolyard memories to a trek in Nepal to the creation of the universe.Other ways to stay out of trouble: Stick to the truth.In a defamation of character suit, an offending statement must be false for a plaintiff to prevail against you or your publisher.Linda can still sue you for defamation if she is obviously defamed, regardless of the name you give her in the book.Changing a person’s name is not a guarantee of protection, but it might help.magazine, sums it up best: “This is perhaps creative nonfiction’s greatest asset: It offers flexibility and freedom while adhering to the basic tenets of reportage.In creative nonfiction, writers can be poetic and journalistic simultaneously.” Creative nonfiction is a genre that holds great creative possibilities.