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5 Tips for Writing Family Into Fiction Without Burning Bridges

signature-reads.com – Wednesday October 18, 2017

Before you read this, I should tell you that as I write this, my first and only novel Seven Days of Us has not yet been published. And so far, my husband and parents are my only family to have read it. So I’m not sure how qualified I am to advise on ‘Writing family into fiction without burning bridges’.

Still, I do know all about not deliberately offending loved ones in print, thanks to a social stereotypes column I wrote in The Sunday Times for two years. Inevitably I drew on real life, nearly every week, and often my sources had to be tactfully hidden. Occasionally I didn’t realize I had borrowed from reality, until just before the deadline. Then I had to send frantic emails to my favorite sub-editor: ‘Please could you change ‘espadrille’ in the second paragraph to ‘moccasin’ – I’m so sorry to ask this but my cousin is a big espadrille-wearer and may be insulted.’ Once I even had to add, truthfully: ‘He is also terminally ill, so I really don’t want to upset him.’ Aaaagh.

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