Write your memoir!

Congratulations, you’ve decided to write your memoir!

 

 

It was the most fascinating time of your life. Or – That time in your life you’d much rather forget. Or – Lessons were learned during those periods in your life. Not matter what your story, it is yours to tell. Memoir writing can take you through several emotional stages. It can be exhilarating, funny, soothing, or cathartic. It can even be a combination of any or all of these emotions and more.

There are many reasons why a person decides to write a memoir. A few of them are:

  • You simply want to share an experience.
  • You want to help others heal through your words and the situations you were subject to.
  • You need some writing therapy. Putting the words on paper helps you deal with your past.

Whatever your reasons for writing a memoir, one thing very common among the writers is the looming question:

How do I portray certain people for who they were without getting into legal trouble?

Merriam-Webster’s definition of defamation:

 

defamation

noun

def·​a·​ma·​tion | \ˌde-fə-ˈmā-shən  \

Definition of defamation 

law

the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person the act of defaming another CALUMNYdefamation of charactera defamation lawsuit

Defamation is when a person’s reputation is lowered in the eyes of the community and people are deterred from dealing with them as they normally would. The allegedly defamed person must prove that it is he/she who is portrayed in the book. They must be able to identify themselves by physical description, location, acquaintances, or other factors.

So how do you write your memoir without getting into legal trouble?

  • Start with changing names and settings. Instead of writing about the small rural community you grew up in, set your story in the outskirts of a major city. Remember, changing up settings and details does not mean the incidents didn’t happen. It means you are doing your due diligence in protecting yourself from potential lawsuits. And it helps protect the reputation of innocent and guilty persons.
  • Add a disclaimer such as: This memoir reflects the author’s recollections of his/her experiences in life. Some names, places, and characteristics have been changed. Some events may have been compressed and some dialogue may have been recreated.
  • State facts. If your ex cheated on his taxes and you can prove it, he/she cannot sustain a defamation claim.
  • More about stating facts. Your opinions are protected expressions. To an extent. If you express your accusation as, “I believe…”, or “In my opinion…” that does not give you legal recourse. Your opinions need to be relevant to your story and supported with evidence.
  • Show the people you are writing about what you have written. Of course this cannot be done in all instances such as abuse, addiction, etc. But on occasion, someone may only ask that their real identity not be revealed.

With all of that being said, write your memoir! Write what you experienced, what you feel. Laugh along the way. Cry with the words you are putting on paper. Heal if it’s healing you seek. It is your story. When you get to the point of wanting to publish your memoir, make sure you have done your duty by protecting the reputation of others.

Disclaimer: Of course, these are my opinions and based on research and they are not legal advice. You should always consult an attorney if you are in doubt.

Til next time,

Taylor

Sunset Bayou – Lil Bit…

Hello again! I wanted to share one of my current projects with you. Sunset Bayou – A fun, romantic story of second chances.  The beginning of the story, Lil Bit of Love and Everything,  goes back several years to when Alanna and Jake (and several other characters) were in high school.

My inspiration for the two characters in Sunset Bayou, book 1 (currently untitled) are Shania Twain and Patrick Dempsey. Follow Alanna and Jake through Pinterest to see what their likes, dislikes, and secrets are.  You can also keep up with the story by subscribing to Taylor’s Tidbits and this blog from this website. The story will unfold right before your eyes, beginning with the beginning – sixteen years ago. (Subject to edits, of course.)

 

So, to start out, I’ll give you a little teaser from Lil Bit of Love and Everything. (Raw and unedited so excuse the many errors – grammatical and content.)

 

Present day.

Yvonne Watson’s sixty-eight year old body was wrinkled, her body beginning to frail, but she was still the light of Sam’s life. He reached over and took his wife’s hand; his beautiful wife of sixteen years. She smiled and then they both looked out over the bayou.

From their vintage point on the balcony, they took in all of the surroundings. Across the calm waters stood tall houses accessible from the other side of the town. Looking to the left, Sunset Bayou Park Road was filled with small camps to large homes. At the first curve, Earl’s small, shabby piece of property stuck out like a foreign object with old vehicles, metal scraps, and various other pieces of unusable junk. Earl had become the go-to for scrap parts. If you needed it, he had it. Not to mention he lived on this bayou most of his sixty-something years.

Sam glanced back over at his wife and his heart swelled. It was a blessing that they met at a time in their lives when they each needed someone. Yvonne had gone through a messy divorce in her late-forties. Sam had been a widower for several years when he and Yvonne met. The evening she strolled into ‘Lil Bits was the night he knew he had to hook her.

Sixteen years earlier.

“Sam, we need you up here,” the young bartender yelled at him. “Now!” She was a feisty little thing. Sam had wondered about giving her this job, but it was a favor to one of his old buddies.

After his wife had passed away in 2000, Sam took an early retirement from the plant industry and opened the country stop. He chose the name of the bar to honor his deceased wife’s wine shop, Lil Bit of Love. Several years later, the place was a hotspot for Sunset Bayou Park.

Lil Bit of Love and Everything was a combination convenience store and bar. Attached to the store was a small bar, Lil Bit of Love, which Sam opened daily. It was nothing fancy, just a place for people in the area to sit and chat while having a drink or two. Weekends could get a little rowdy, but never to the point he had to call the law. The store, and Everything, served the Sunset Bayou Park campground with everything from fishing tackle to food items needed to prepare a full meal.

Sam strolled into the bar area from his small office. “What,” he grumbled.

“Oh please.” Maria rolled her eyes at him. “Stop grumbling. It’s doesn’t fit you. Anyway, this lady here wants to know if there are any camps for sale around here.” Her brown ponytail bobbed as she nodded her head to the woman standing in front of her.

Sam scratched his head and sized up the woman. She looked to be around his age and she was neatly dressed. She was a taller where as his ‘lil bit wife had been shorter. Her dark brown hair reminded him of a chocolate bar. Her eyes, well the little spunk in them intrigued him more than he wanted to admit.

 

Enjoy! And follow for the next segment.

Love, hugs, and kisses – Taylor

 

Taylor has been found!

Gotta love technology! Especially when your website crashes and it takes over a week to get it back going. Really frustrating when you have promo material out there that refers back to the site. Not to mention the fact that every where I can think of, Taylor Anne’s website is mentioned – books, online presences, promo material, social media, and many other places. So, yeah, I was freaking out when the site went down.

Hang tight – it will be back to a presentable stage soon!