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  1. #1
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    To use real names, or not?

    Against all odds, I too am writing a memoir-type book. It's mostly about my husband and I, and our attempt to fix up an old sailboat and go exploring. But-- other people make appearances in this book. I had decided to keep them anonymous, so used only initials, initially () But now it's getting to be sort of a mess, in some spots-- B did thusly, C responded, etc. Also, there are several B's, several L's etc. I can deal with the latter problem (give them different initials, for instance) but I'm wondering if I'm coming at this all wrong. Should I just use names? It reads so much better that way. And I'm not saying anything bad about anyone...

    Since the point is to get the book published some day (I know, long shot), I think I'm really trying to avoid notifying all these people that they might make an appearance in it, or getting their permission in advance, or....?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Why not change their names? You can include a disclaimer, saying that they are real people, but you've changed their names to protect their privacy. This is perfectly acceptable for memoir.

    Jeanne

  3. #3
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    See? I knew there was something obvious I was missing. And what fun, getting to give everyone a new name! Thanks!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    SusanH, I once read a columnist who did not use the real names of friends, although what she wrote about was her day to day interactions with family and friends and even some of her belongings. She used other descriptors for her friends that still added personality, such as: Tulip Friend, Quilting Friend, Red Ratty Robe, Eldest Daughter and Youngest Daughter, and so on. Just an idea.

  5. #5
    Member Kid's Avatar
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    May 2012
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    In fiction, names kinda scare me. Hockey player Tony Twist sued Todd McFarlane over a villain McFarlane admittedly named after Twist.

    Antonio Twistelli.

    I believe Twist got him for $1,000,000!

    Don't know much 'bout memoirs, but if you get permission to use a person's actual name, make sure it's gotten in writing. Or you can sidestep it all by going Jeanne's route. I'd play it safe.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all. Lea, I love that idea. Gives useful info without getting in the way. I may do that later, when the several hours I spent yesterday giving everyone fictitious names and hitting Find and Replace have faded from memory...

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2013
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    I also am using real names and places. Is it OK to use first names, I mean my writing is memoir and I have a problem with using names , because some of my memoir has to do with the police station.

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