Autobiographical Novels And Their Cousins

It has become a truism that writing in first-person offers more intimacy than third-person. But any mention of intimacy in writing raises the question, How is it expressed and in what genres or types? Some candidates are straight autobiography, fictional autobiography — also known as autobiographical fiction — as well as memoir and biography. All can offer intimacy of different kinds and in varying degrees.

This list can be broadened to include autobiographical novels, a.k.a. autobiographical fiction. All can offer intimacy to varying degrees. There is only space to touch on a few of these here.

Geoffrey Fowler
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9 Comments

Kenalex2

Intimacy to connecting with the reader, or intimacy versus connection with the reader, is food for thought? While I’ve yet to consider the intricacies of intimacy and fiction, I now wonder whether one can have a connection without intimacy. Conventional wisdom advocate connecting with the reader to hold their attention. I doubt, however, it’s required to ‘hold the reader’s hand’ while them to get into the story. Personally, I don’t need the writer to hold my hand to connect with me.

Oct-21 2020

Geoff

I can’t follow you, maybe you should try reading the blog before you make further comments.

Oct-21 2020

Elsarmonie

How does a person write autobiographical fiction? Even if names/places have different names, aren’t there legal ramifications? How does that work? And what would need to be written in the front of the book where the normal “This is a work of fiction” section is? Would writing under a pseudonym change any of the legal issues there may be? I am very interested because this is what I’m attempting to do, but I am clueless to what might be involved with this. Thanks for any and all help!

Nov-08 2020

Marisaw

What legal issues are you thinking of? There is no legal consequence to naming geographical locations. There might be some legal consequence if you’re naming businesses, but that is usually easy to avoid (e.g. saying “our local coffee shop” or giving it a fictitious name instead of “Starbucks”).

In an autobiography, the main character is yourself, so obviously there are no legal ramifications there. If you’re worried about the other people you name, you can ask them to sign a consent form - but actually, so long as you’re not showing them in a bad light, it’s unlikely there will be any problems. Even if you do say something a bit negative, they’ll have to prove slander or libel, and they’re unlikely to go that far for a minor slight.

Nov-09 2020

Geoff

Elsarmonie, autobiographical fiction has been written for decades; there is no way on this planet writing it could be punishable by a court of law. Try Googleing “goodreads autobiographical fiction”

Nov-10 2020

Geoff

At the moment, we’re talking about fictional autobiography (a.k.a autobiographical fiction) not biography. I can only think of one way writing a biography could be illegal: Giving the name of person other than the author in the title.

Nov-10 2020

Geoff

It looks to me like you people have only read the title of this blog, I suggest you read the section below titled Autobiographical Fiction, aka Fictional Autobiography

Nov-10 2020

Marisaw

Apart from the first commenter, no one else is commenting on the article itself. Elsa asked a general question about autobiographical fiction, not directly relating to the blog, and I attempted to answer it.

Both autobiographies and autobiographical fiction (i.e. a fiction based loosely on the writer’s real life) have been the object of legal action, if a character feels he/she has been besmirched by the writer. And apparently, giving the person a fake name is not enough:

http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/real_people_in_fiction.html

As the Goodreads list attests, there is some great autobiographical fiction - but many of them were writing before today’s addiction to litigation.

Nov-10 2020

system

This blog has been deleted by request of the author. Locking thread.

Nov-10 2020
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