Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pros and Cons of Writing a True Story - Thoughts by Shawna C. Jones, author of 'Twist of Fate'

Pros and Cons of Writing a True Story

I can think of several pros and cons to writing a true story, as I did in my book. First, I know where the story is going. I don’t have to make up something. Also I know who all the characters are. And I can eliminate some, or keep them in if I want to. The problem with this is, of course, anyone who knows the story will recognize themselves or others. Something to be very concerned about. I didn’t realize it, but when I took a writing class, the instructor warned us about the problem with this. Most of them legal, of course. She said we needed permission to write about others, and if we didn’t have it, there could be consequences. Since this was a memoir class, I became pretty concerned. However, several students in the class said they didn’t care. They were speaking the truth and if they got sued, let a court decide. I didn’t like that idea at all. And although I wrote the book as a memoir at first, the idea of not having permission still gnawed at my conscience.

This particular issue brought out disturbing thoughts for me. I had already told the instructor I was writing a book based on a true story, but with fictional characters. She said that would not protect me. Apparently she wrote a memoir, and had several characters in her book come forward to challenge her accusations. She this was definitely something to think about, and she would not advise writing memoirs because of it. However, I knew I would this book no matter what, so decided on fiction, even though I knew a lot of it wasn’t.

I changed the characters identity by names, nationalities, slight changes in body shape and hair, so as not to be recognizable. Now the problem is, if someone knows the story, they will recognize themselves or others. There is nothing I can do about that. I wrote a lot of it through the true events, including my personal “stuff” shall we say. I can’t speak for others, and decided I wouldn’t. I told the story as it happened. That made it hard because I didn’t want to make something up that wasn’t true. Now if I was writing fiction, I could have done that, and this would be a different book. As it is, it speaks for itself.

The real problem I had was nationalities, since I didn’t want to out the country I lived in, or that particular place. I opted for a place I knew fairly well and went from there. My sister does not know I wrote about her, and hopefully she never will. I haven’t told her or other family members. Now that can be a pro or a con depending on how you want to look at it. She will probably not take what I wrote about her too kindly. I kept her personality pretty much as I experienced it. I doubt she would sue me, but you get my drift. My parents and John’s are both deceased. So no problem there. John’s family would probably not sue me, but I also didn’t want to hurt them, and I kept them out of the book. So it is a dilemma to eliminate or keep characters in. Who do you protect and why? Also if I kept these characters in, I would have had to add a lot of events which would distract from the story. In my opinion, it wouldn’t have added much to the book. It was a decision I made, and I can live with that. In fact, I wrote one of my drafts with more of his family in it, and an editor told me to leave them out.

This is the story my soul wanted to write and I honored that request. The rest of my books will not be so serious or self-revealing. I did the right thing, which is who I am. So next time, my writing will be different and fictional. At least I hope so.

Twist of Fate
by Shawna C. Jones



Shawna grew up with a secret that she couldn't share with anyone. She thought of it as her "inner demon" and it shaped her life. When she became an adult, it sent her on a quest to try to find her Real Home. In Paris, she fell in love with a fellow traveler who changed her life, for better or worse. Their relationship was full of discovery and of lessons learned.

How could she come to terms with her "inner demon"? Can we change our fate or karma? Does love really conquer all?

This book is based on a true story of an independent woman's search for her true self and the meaning of life, and how she found answers in unexpected places.

Read an excerpt:
“Are you alright?” I asked, touching her hands, which were now empty, but still shaking a bit.

“I will be. Give me a minute.” She closed her eyes.

I bent down and started picking up the pieces of the cup. Tea leaves were splashed everywhere. One group looked like Tower Bridge, but one group caught my eye. As I looked at it closely, it seemed to be a face. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, but it had slits for eyes and mouth. I tried to get closer still, when my aunt’s foot tapped it and it disappeared.

I quickly picked everything up and went to get a broom and dustpan. My aunt looked at me and smiled a little.

“I’ll take care of everything. You just relax.” I went inside and came back out. I cleaned everything up. When I came back out I found her standing at the edge of the patio; she was staring at the ocean.

She turned and looked at me. Color had come back into her face and she appeared calm.

“I don’t know what happened there. But there was definitely an unknown entity around. You have a lot of protection around you. Make sure white light surrounds you at all times. Be very careful of the future you’re stepping into. Some of it is a problem. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.”

“I’ll change it.”

“Yes. Some of it, you might be able to. You can always try.” She didn’t sound convincing.

“You don’t know what it is?”

“No. But veils are not a good sign. Just be careful and try not to be too concerned about anything.”

“You know that won’t happen.” We both smiled. I hugged her tightly. What would I do without her?

I knew I liked to live in the fast lane. Perhaps I would have to move over to the slow lane for a while. No. That would not be me. And besides, Paris was waiting for us.

Lesson: Always protect yourself. And when a psychic warns you, pay extra close attention.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Shawna C. Jones lives in the US, when she's not traveling the world. She lives with her husband, and "inner demon" quite peacefully now. She is continuing her mission of helping others, and encouraging young people to travel and follow their dreams.

Shawna will be awarding the winner's choice of a $50 Amazon GC, a $50 Starbucks GC, or a crystal from Middle Earth Store in Mt. Shasta to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and a $25 Amazon or Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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  1. My first comment didn't take, so I'll try again. Thanks for hosting me today. A warm welcome to all the readers following along on this tour. Hope you enjoy today's topic.

  2. Good excerpt, thank you.


    1. Thanks Rita. It's good to see you again, and hope you have a great day.

  3. Interesting to hear your thoughts thank you.

  4. Love the excerpt! Thanks for sharing

  5. Interesting excerpt