Author Topic: Reply to Dan  (Read 3627 times)

Lin

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Reply to Dan
« on: January 14, 2006, 04:10:09 AM »
I am replying on this forum to a question which Lieutenant Dan asked on the Welcome Board.  Please refer to the Welcome Board for his story which was basically about writing a true story with controversial issues which may affect his family and children.

Hello Dan,

Apologies for moving your question, but I feel it is better answered here.

Yes I too have a book in my head which part of the story is true.   I believe its best to change the names and write it as a fiction story.   You will see that I mentioned in some of my postings about writing for therapy.   Writing can be therapeutic especially if you have personal issues to get out of your head and on to paper.   Please be very careful, these things have a habit of coming back to haunt you when you least expect it and could bring more trouble than you bargained for.

If you do decide to go on the fiction side I suggest you make the names as remote as possible and the places too, change everything except the main body of the story and as suggested by my site moderator colleague Aelfwin it is better to write under a pen name as well.   In this respect you have got the issues of out your head, and no-one gets hurt.   I'm sure you dont deliberately wish to cause any discomfort to anyone especially your children.   Later on, as your kids become adult you could try explaining to them that this book was written as a fiction based on fact.   I think this would be a way of breaking it to them gently dont you think?

I hope this helps you

Regards Lin

Offline Lieutenant Dan

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2006, 09:32:03 AM »
Thank you Lin...excellent advice.  Everything you mentioned makes a lot of sense.  Writing it as fiction is the safest bet...it may likely 'soften' the story, but no to minimal family impact would be preferable after all everyone's been through in the past. 

My only regret is that if the story were printed as fact, it could serve as a tremendously moving and inspirational story of going thru hell and back and coming out on top, and might help people.  But...if it were printed as such, would come at a cost that would simply be too high.  I think fictionalizing is the only way to go.

Thank you!

Dan

SuzieHarris

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2006, 01:15:45 PM »
Hi Dan,

There is a book that will help you hide the things you dont want people to recognise, as well as give plenty of useful advice.

The book is availalbe on Amazon.co.uk and is called 'The Art of Creative Nonfiction' by Lee Gutkind.

Worth a look!

Suzie x

Offline Lieutenant Dan

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2006, 10:49:06 AM »
Thank you kindly!  I will go look that up!  :)

Offline tigger

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2006, 10:32:28 PM »
Well Dan,

I don't know. Fictionalizing something that may come back to haunt you may be theraputic to you in some ways, but I believe that the most theraputic consideration would be to amalgamate your experiences in an entirely fictitious story. When you write, somehow 'you' become the characters. Everything your characters say are words you would say. Every action they undertake are actions that you've lived, or desired to live. Responses to circumstances are the reflection of who you are, how you feel, what you sense, how you interpret. The justification and rationalization of all that you print out come from the way your mind works.

If the story is fictitious but the circumstances are very much like your life's history, there may be someone in your world who might recognize your account through the fingerprints on your pain.  Unless your work is so well scripted that the people you love most, and with whom you may well want to share the success of a release, you should understand there is a chance you will have to add to your load another burden: that of secrecy.

In my view, the only way to mask such an account is to make the circumstances surrounding the most traumatizing, most accentuating and influential aspects of your life, a complete fabrication. Otherwise if I were you, I would (while I was writing) prepare for the moment of confrontation and decide how to handle it.

Just my thoughts...

ciao for now...
:);)

Offline Lieutenant Dan

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2006, 11:01:40 AM »
Karma to all who have helped me, including the wise Tigger who summed up my very thoughts this morning.

Even taking a fictionalized route and using a pen name..AND keeping my mouth shut this could still come back as a problem.  This would especially be a problem if the book 'took off' by some far-fetched miracle; SOMEONE would read it in the family (BIG family) who would connect the dots. 

It's simply too much of a risk.  If I were to fabricate and fictionalize to the point where it wouldn't be recognizable, then it also would not be what I wanted to write either. 

I may still write this all out, but it would be 100% straight and then locked up somewhere.  My wife (who this book really is about and everything she's been through) has already written this all down brilliantly in a journal, which kind of inspired this whole idea.  I thought all that she went through, and then to wind up at the end of the rainbow with me would be very inspiring to many people, especially women.  However, the cost would just be too great.  I wish I could go into a few details, but you all also understand why I can't.  :(

Thanks so much to you all.  Maybe I'll find something else to write about.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2006, 11:04:00 AM by Lieutenant Dan »

Offline tigger

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2006, 12:50:08 PM »
Hi Lt. Dan,

I just want to say, that despite the fact that we don't know each other, I sense that your story is a very intricate and intimate affair.

There are times when the truth is too heavy a burden to trust a large group of family members to handle. Unfortunately, the reprecussions from their attempts may have the power to become a pandora's box. Instead of putting yourself through another complication, I encourage you to keep the matter private.

I would also like to encourage you to go ahead and write your story anyway. Writing is truly therapeutic. Just keep the writing for yourselves. My reasoning for this:

1. You and your wife may discover insights and revelations about each other through the act of writing.

2. There is the potential for you to discover that the bond between you and your wife is greatly enhanced by the sensitivity of the articulated expression.

3. Words that may not ever be spoken otherwise may be a product of your innermost sentiments being brought to surface.

Then there is another course of action I would ask you to consider. You may consider to simply take time to articulate your emotional upheaval in private moments that you could perhaps plan as dates. Treat the matter with the compassion that you seem to already have instituted.

In other words, I just want to encourage you to do what is best for you. The importance of your relationship with your wife and children must take first priority. As a writer, you are most likely capable of coming up with a most amazing plot, without even touching on the sentiment and pain of your real life experience!

In writing, the act of thinking through the elements of plot are a delightful manifestation of construction. The building blocks you use are only limited by your command of the English language and the power of your imagination. Once you create something out of nothing, the excitement and energy that begins spouting from the effort can take you on an adventure you would never have had the pleasure of experiencing otherwise.

So, if you're up for it Lt., march into your study (workplace), turn on your PC, and begin expressing yourself. Stop for a break once in a while, but at every opportunity, enjoy yourself!

In the meantime...


God Bless you!!
:);)

Lin

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2006, 12:55:05 PM »
Hello Dan,

You obviously think you can write a book and don't give up, although I agree with you on all points about the risks.   It's a difficult one for you isn't it?    Can Writers Circle influence you to do some writing anyway.   Your postings sound interesting and you can obviously write as your power of English seems very good, so can we see you starting something soon?

I see you are posted at Lieutenant Dan, did you used to be in the armed forces?   If so there are surely some good stories there.   Hope to see you writing soon.

Lin

Offline Lieutenant Dan

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2006, 04:18:04 PM »
Tigger:  Thank you so much for your heartfelt compassion and encouragement; it means a lot!   :) 

Lin:  I don't really know if I can write a book...but I THINK I can  :)  I bought Nick's course and it's given me an insight in to what is required to put a book together...seems do-able to me!  :)

Thank you so much for the compliment about my 'power of English'!  I've always felt I can write decently, but I've always been a little intimidated by such concepts as style, form, chapter structure (which Nick addresses), and what's "correct and incorrect" in the literary world.  Thanks to the support I've been receiving here, I may have to brew up a little something and see what you guys and gals think.

I was never in the military, though I wanted to be in the Navy as a kid.  I'm 4F due to being legally blind in my right eye, as I was born with congenital cataracts.  I've had surgeries to both eyes, and can see well out of my left, but my right is still 20/200....just call me Cyclops!  ;D  I loved Gary Sinise's character of Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, and I love to mimic Hanks and quote the movie to the amusement of my friends and family, so it made sense. 

Dan

Offline Lieutenant Dan

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Re: Reply to Dan
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2006, 05:47:01 PM »
Lin, I went ahead and posted a little trifle over at the Review my Work section....it's under "Is there any hope?"   :D