May is here and many of our winter members have already departed for their homes in the north. Thanks to the internet they can still follow what we do here all summer. We strive to continue the quality of meetings throughout the following months.
We heard tales of starting out in one direction and performing an about-face after a few chapters. Some admitted to chucking massive amounts of prose to clarify the plot. We all agree what we envisioned in the beginning is seldom the result.
As we moved into the reading portion of our meeting, Jeff shared a new piece with us chronicling a moment in the life of two strangers meeting at a restaurant while racing inside after being caught a driving rainstorm. The story gets a little dicey when the woman’s blouse is soaked through. Oh well, we look forward to the next installment.
Peter shared an enticing and provoking story about a dog and master whose lives are intertwined with patrons and owner of a sidewalk café. A Walk in the Shadows, makes us ask, how well do animals understand their surroundings and masters?
Joe, our in-house humorist, presented his satirical outlook on estrogen. Need to Elucidate highlights incidents involving issues encountered by a woman as she engages in estrogen therapy. Physical and mental discomfort brought on by hot flashes and radical shifts in temperament led to situations shown in a most humorous light.
Don introduced us to the first installment of his memoir, Swords and Plowshares. His story documents memories of over 40 years in the Indiana Air National Guard. From raw recruit to the highest rank an enlisted man can achieve, his memories give us insight into a man dedicated to his job.
Bruce read from the latest in his Dan Marin mystery series. Finding Cloe is the 8th book in the series. The first chapter leaves us wanting more.
Noreen and Doug are the first to read at our next meeting.
I asked, and this week, I received a suggestion for our discussion. In past weeks, most of our discussions appear to have been more relevant for fiction writers than non-fiction or memoirists. So, this week, I propose we discuss some of the legal and ethical issues encountered by the writers who produce creative non-fiction and memoirs.
One question I’m often asked is, “What if I write my memoir and members of my family, or others portrayed in the piece, become upset by what I’ve written, am I in legal trouble?”
I’m not an attorney and therefore cannot answer this question with authority. Has anyone encountered this issue? How was it resolved?
Must you have proof of any statement made in a memoir? If you make an accusation in writing, even if it’s a very private thing, (i.e. sexual abuse by a family member or close acquaintance,) must you have legal proof or have filed charges over the incident(s). What degree of proof is needed?
Non-fiction material often encounters similar issues. A writer puts forth a theory in a paper or publication, others in the field disagree with the writer. One or more of the detractors take umbrage with the statements and publicly attempt to discredit the writer for breaching the subject and demand published proof. Another claims the writer purloined the idea, impinging on an opportunity to publish a paper in the future.
What liabilities are encountered in these situations? If theories are advanced, are the same rules in effect as when making a statement of fact?
Join us on Wednesday, May 17th to hear writer’s express their opinions and share experiences.