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Publishing things that other people would find hurtful

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi. I've lurked on this forum for awhile, and now it's time to post.

I began writing as a child and wrote until I was 25. (I'm now 37.) Then I stopped writing, for a variety of reasons (fear of failure, lack of time, marriage and children, fear of family disapproval, etc.).

My dad died last March, and a month later I resumed writing. I decided to really give it a go, and settled in on writing flash fiction and flash memoir. I attended a writing conference, where I met a published writer who gave me a great deal of encouragement.

I've had two pieces accepted for publication (both forthcoming), and I'm 150 pages into the first draft of a novel. I now want to devote myself to the novel, but I still have some short pieces I'd like to send out.

Two of them are flash memoir, and they mention the failed suicide attempt/psychiatric hospitalization of a living family member. I couldn't even write about these events until my dad's death. He was very controlling, and basically pretended those things never happened, even though they deeply affected my life.

Should I just sit on these pieces for another 20 years? I really want to send them out, because the experiences they describe are mine, and this will help me own them. Plus I'm a writer, and I have a natural urge to share my work. I'm thinking about sending them to a small print journal that does not publish online; therefore the chances of the family member ever coming across the pieces is very small.

Perhaps I am just being selfish. Any thoughts? Of course, the pieces might never be accepted . . . but I need to be okay with possible publication before I send them out.
post #2 of 7
How about a pen name?
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post
Hi. I've lurked on this forum for awhile, and now it's time to post.

I began writing as a child and wrote until I was 25. (I'm now 37.) Then I stopped writing, for a variety of reasons (fear of failure, lack of time, marriage and children, fear of family disapproval, etc.).

My dad died last March, and a month later I resumed writing. I decided to really give it a go, and settled in on writing flash fiction and flash memoir. I attended a writing conference, where I met a published writer who gave me a great deal of encouragement.

I've had two pieces accepted for publication (both forthcoming), and I'm 150 pages into the first draft of a novel. I now want to devote myself to the novel, but I still have some short pieces I'd like to send out.

Two of them are flash memoir, and they mention the failed suicide attempt/psychiatric hospitalization of a living family member. I couldn't even write about these events until my dad's death. He was very controlling, and basically pretended those things never happened, even though they deeply affected my life.

Should I just sit on these pieces for another 20 years? I really want to send them out, because the experiences they describe are mine, and this will help me own them. Plus I'm a writer, and I have a natural urge to share my work. I'm thinking about sending them to a small print journal that does not publish online; therefore the chances of the family member ever coming across the pieces is very small.

Perhaps I am just being selfish. Any thoughts? Of course, the pieces might never be accepted . . . but I need to be okay with possible publication before I send them out.
Is it possible to change just the name of the family member. That is fine in memoir. Also, you could try talking with them about it. I'm not sure if that is something you are comfortable with. I think as a writer we are always vulnerable in that way and sometimes have to follow our convictions. If it will ruin someone's life though, we have to wonder whether we are being selfish.
post #4 of 7
I think it would be very appropriate to change the names of people and locations in the story, and to use a pen name, and then send it out.
post #5 of 7
I agree with the previous people- change the names and write. These are the stories that need to get out- obviously it meants a lot to you to include these parts and characters. I understand, though- dh wants to write about his family, but it would be very difficult if they were to ever read it. He's decided, though, that he has to just do it anyway- in his case it makes for some very compelling characters.
post #6 of 7
i agree with all the pp's - change names and you're good to go. all my memoirs end up wildly fictionalized at the end so it doesn't matter - but my novel is about the dynamics of a group of people - one of whom pushes another under a train, killing him - and it's based on a true story. so i made up names and came up with a fake town and stuff. but i tend to lie so much in writing that it wouldn't really matter now... i guess i have a very vivid imagination.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. I'm okay with changing character names, but not comfortable with using a pen name for myself at this point -- I want credit!
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