Guest Bloggers

A Memoir is Not a Voodoo Doll

Guest Blogger, attorney Helen Sedwick, writes: Memoirists are the bravest of writers. In exploring the journeys of their lives, they delve into the private (and imperfect) lives of others. Can a memoirist write about surviving abuse without getting sued by her abuser? Can a soldier write about war crimes without risking a court-martial? Yes, but a cool head is key. Considering the thousands of memoirs published each year, there are relatively few lawsuits. Claims are difficult and expensive to prove. Most targets don’t want to call attention to a matter best forgotten. However, it’s important for memoir writers to be aware of the legal risks. You can’t avoid risk 100% of the time, but you can learn to take the ones that are important to your narrative arc and minimize those that are not. What is Safe Territory? You may write about a person in a positive or neutral light….