1. Elle48028

    Elle48028 New Member

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    I cannot write what is in my heart

    Discussion in 'Non-Fiction' started by Elle48028, Jul 8, 2017.

    Because it is about the life of my mother and all she has done/endured in her life. However, she is still married to my stepdad and I do not want to hurt her or him by what I'm being compelled to write. I'm torn between writing about her but changing some facts to make them not as negative or writing my perspective of the truth and potentially isolating myself from my family. Writing has always been my way of managing my feelings, emotions and life and I am not sure how to go about getting this story out of my heart.
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    It is quite simple, change the names of the characters.
    You can write what you wish, as long as you don't
    do as bio of the people involved.

    Like art, writing gives you the tools to do with as thou wilt.

    Also welcome to the forum sirette. :superhello:

    Art imitates life, not the other way around. :supersmile:
     
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  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    You may be able to pull some of the larger emotions out without writing about the details. I would say writing the details wouldn't be appropriate - it's not your story, it's someone else's, and she has a right to privacy and/or to have her story told the way she wants it told. But that doesn't mean you can't express what's in your heart.

    Like, maybe you're frustrated that she's not standing up for herself or taking care of herself. What can that emotion translate to? Maybe to someone dealing with a loved one who's a drug addict, or some other version of the same overall vibe. Maybe you feel proud of your mother for being a survivor and looking after everyone. You could translate that to, say, a story about refugees with a heroic leader. Whatever.

    The point is, I don't think the details of your mother's life are in your heart. The emotions her life has caused you to feel? Those are in your heart, and they're yours, and they're a great way to power your writing. But the details of her life are hers; I think you should keep your hands off.
     
  4. Walking Dog

    Walking Dog Active Member

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    Can you write it, but save it for later? I've written things I've yet to show my mother. Perhaps a day will come when the closet door will open. Interesting enough, I was thinking today about a former boss of mine before I went to college, and how I wanted to write about my experiences while working for him. You see, during the three years I worked for him, I may have done more harm to that poor man than anyone else could in a lifetime. I nearly burned his house down when I accidentally shorted an electrical wire while nailing paneling to a wall. I wrecked his trailer while hauling a load of black walnut lumber back from town, hit a chug hole, and the trailer popped off the hitch and went cartwheeling down the highway, scattering lumber and trailer parts everywhere. Then I crunched his van at a carwash. The van jumped the track about halfway in, and the carwash arm did a number on the side of that van. I gave that man quite a few reasons to fire me during the three years I worked for him. Funny thing is, when I announced I was leaving him, we both shed a tear. I've resisted writing about my experiences there because I was a little embarrassed about some of the hardship I put him through. But he has passed. So maybe it's time.
     
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  5. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I wrote an autobiography "The Autobiography of a Ping Pong Ball" although I pulled it from Kindle, it had most of the good and the bad that happen to me over the years.
    There was a caveat in the process of editing it and polish out the bad verbiage.
    I felt emotional sick and eventually physically sick, over how I was treated, and how I treated others.
    I don't know if it's a good journey for everyone.
     
  6. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    I'm kind of in your boat, Elle. I'm kicking around the idea of writing about a part of my life that was painful not only for myself, but for some other participants, some of them unwilling, as well. Many of these people are dead now and beyond caring, but I'm perhaps too sensitive about how some of the others may take it. I've decided to change a few names, but since this is a memoir, there are a number of folks who'll know who I'm writing about.

    My advice to you (and to me) is to go ahead and write it, without any intention to publish, just for therapeutic reasons. Later, after it's done, you can decide what to do with it.
     
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  7. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!
    I would recommend changing the facts, but not in a way that makes them less negative.
     
  8. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Whatever you are writing, remember one thing. You do NOT have to show it to anybody!

    If you want to write what's in your heart, do it. If nothing else, it will give you practice for writing. Are you planning this to be fiction, or a real-life story? Either way, do exactly what you want.

    If you want to show it around afterwards, however, that's when things can get sticky. I'd get it written first, and then decide—after a LOT of soul searching. It's true that if people recognise themselves in a bit of writing, that can have extremely negative effects, both on them and on you, the writer. However, you can make that decision later on.

    I don't think that just changing names will disguise things enough to fool your family. Obviously it will fool strangers, but that's not what you're worried about, is it?

    What you can do, if you feel very negative about a situation, is ask yourself 'what if things were different?' And start from there. What would you wish for, if you could wish for anything, regarding that situation? And use that as a STARTING point for your story.

    What if you wrote a story starting with your mother leaving your stepdad? What would happen next? Or even if she had never married your stepdad at all, but did something else instead? What would it be? Or if she had two people to choose between ...your stepdad and An Other? What would the other be like? What would happen next? You can write it from a different persepective as well. You can write in first person, as if you were your mother. That will give you a path to more insight, I reckon.

    And no, this isn't a recipe for 'rosy in the garden.' You need to give these characters something major they need to deal with. Something that might challenge the way they are ...maybe even forcing them back in the direction of what they are now, in real life. Create a 'careful what you wish for' scenario? It's fun (and very theraputic) to deal with a new approach to your characters, rather than just writing a personal sob story, which rehashes problems and probably provides no solution.
     
  9. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    I'm going through something very intimate and personal too but I've been going through this certain sentiment for a while now. It involves a childhood friend.

    Instead of writing about my life and the reality of things I used a fictional concept with other fictitious scenarios based off of what I felt and experienced with her. It's escapism; artists have always used a certain theme or story based off of their reality without actually recounting what happened.

    I think it can be great for your mother's life.
     
  10. S A Lee

    S A Lee Contributor Contributor

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    There's no reason you can't write what's in your heart, whether or not you release it for other people to read and learn from, however, is another matter.

    The first thing that came to mind is the OVA Black Butler: Book of Murder, wherein the whole notion is that Conan Doyle writing Sherlock Holmes is his way of skirting around the fact that he is haunted by his visit to the Phantomhive mansion as a young author struggling to get off the ground, wherein he saw Sebastian's true form. For the rest of his life he regularly writes the real story and throws it into the fireplace as a way of getting it out of his system while adhering to the threat of his silence for his life.

    You might not be going through that severe a notion, but perhaps a similar method may soothe your internal strife.
     
  11. Dreams_on_Mars

    Dreams_on_Mars Member

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    Writing about things that are important are supposed to be more impactful then not doing that. I personally never want to write a memoir, but I would write fiction and change things around.
     
  12. C.F. Boehlke

    C.F. Boehlke Member

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    Hi Elle,

    I am currently reading a book titled Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. In this book, the author gives some excellent advise that, if applied, might make you feel more comfortable with writing the story you wish to tell. He advises against using any person in real life as the full basis for an entire character, making a great point that we are never able to truly know another real person as well as we should know our characters. He says that, if we want to draw from a real person in our lives, it is best to start with what you know of them, and then make changes and embellish. By doing this, you can build robust characters that are virtually unrecognizable from the people you used to start building them.

    As for the plot, you could make this unrecognizable, as well. You could explore by looking at an event and how it really played out in life, and then ask yourself what might be different if someone had made a different choice. Then you could write the scene/event as if that was the choice that had been made. It's possible to keep the themes of your real life story in the book and even the major events and essences of the characters without feeling as though you've betrayed them, I think. You might want to check this book out, as it's been very helpful for me! I hope this post helps you in some way!
     
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