Friday, March 4, 2011

(the) Help!

My monthly guest post is up at Jane Friedman's Writer's Digest blog, "There Are No Rules."

"Fact vs. Truth in Writing Fiction"

Read all about the lawsuit against my fellow native Jackson, Mississippian, Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, in my Q & A with literary agent and intellectual properties attorney, John D. Mason, one of the faculty for the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop slated for September 23-25.

As always, I love to receive COMMENTS!

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Gabriel Scala said...


Great post! It is a tricky situation and one that I think most writers don't think about. When I published my second poetry collection, I titled it with the name of a real person. My editor assumed I was using a fictitious name and was noticeably concerned when she learned (after publication) that it was a real name. It's a lesson I took to heart and am careful now about using real people as "clear" characters in my work. I haven't read the book you mention (yet) and so don't know how the maid is characterized, but you seem to feel it's a sympathetic characterization. I suppose we can never be truly certain of how someone is going to read what we've written about them - even if it's loosely based. It's a tough call. Writers write what they know. And what they know is real people in real situations. I'll be curious to see how this plays out.


Susan Cushman said...

Thanks for the comment, Gabriel, and yes, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I have set my personal memoir(s) aside for now and I'm writing a novel, but even there, I'm fictionalizing two real, historic people, so I'm facing these issues as I proceed.