I have been writing erotic stories that are based on true incidents in my life. Since some of those incidents (which occurred many years ago now) have been of questionable legality, I am unsure if publishing them could lead to my facing any legal problems.

  • Can I get my stories published?
  • If I publish the stories, am I likely to face legal difficulties because of those events?
  • 1
    It will depend on wether the crimes have become time-barred and if anyone looking for the perpetrator will recognize the allusion. You can always fictionalize the account by changing names, places and other details and claim the story was made up or merely inspired by real events. After all not every writer of crime fiction is sent to jail for his inventions.
    – user5645
    Oct 25, 2014 at 19:06
  • 2
    I just read the version of your question before it was edited. In certain jurisdictions pedophile acts will never become time barred, and the publication of such stories may be a crime in itself.
    – user5645
    Oct 25, 2014 at 19:11
  • On the other hand, see Lolita – an illegal deed told in an acknowledged literary masterpiece. It will all depend on your ability as a writer and your ingenuity to hide the truth without watering it down to irrelevancy.
    – user5645
    Oct 26, 2014 at 10:09
  • I wonder if acting as a ghost writer - having a different person (different enough that there will be no doubt that it's their autobiography) publish your story under their name.
    – SF.
    Oct 27, 2014 at 9:48
  • The publication of such stories cannot be a crime in itself at least in the US per the first amendment. Also Lolita certainly was not an fictional retelling of a non-fiction story. Dec 27, 2014 at 21:00

3 Answers 3


In response to Question 2: Likelihood implies a question of probability; rather than probability, you may wish to consider the possibility of legal ramifications. One possible legal ramification is your written statements being entered into evidence under one of the exceptions to the Rule Against Hearsay (Admission by Party Opponent, or Prior Consistent/Inconsistent Statement, e.g.). Under these exceptions, your hearsay statements may be used for impeachment purposes or as substantive evidence.


Hmm, without knowing more it is hard to say.

First of all, writing about illegal stuff is no barrier to publication. If anything, that will increase the chance it will get published, because it is more sensational. Sure, there are a lot of publishers who are ninnies that avoid "controversial" works. Those are the publishers that go out of business. Successful publishers love controversey and danger--it sells books.

If you confess to a crime in a book, then you could be charged. It all depends on the police in the jurisdiction in question. Whether they find out about it and care about it. The most risky situation would be one in which there is a complaint. For example, if you raped some girl, and she reads the story in your book and files a complaint, that could definitely lead to a warrant for your arrest, if the statute of limitations has not run out.


I assume you were talking about publishing stories - and not affidavit accounts that could be used against you in court. (And if there are real people detailed in these stories, their names should be changed with respect to their personal privacy regardless of whether you were guilty of a crime or not).

At any rate, as long as you are publishing stories, there shouldn't be a problem and the boundary between fiction and true auto-biographical accounts has always been very indefinite, so I wouldn't say you are even responsible to point out that they are fiction preemptively (i.e. the literary device of presenting a work of fiction as a true account by said narrator can be found in many works; or vice versa, such that you can always do one of those, I found obtained this manuscript (insert in such and such a way) and find them morally reprehensible and repulsive but choose to make them public (insert such and such reason for the common good) etc. - which was a common frame for publishing certain autobiographic content that was considered highly immoral in certain culturally prohibitive time-periods).

Responding to the comments you received: There are no jurisdictions (at least in the US) where publishing stories of illegal acts is in itself illegal - but it may be different in other countries (consult your local laws) . This is a first amendment right in the US.
You may also find this of interest: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/nj-supreme-court-strikes-conviction-based-rap-lyrics/

But I will note (though this shouldn't apply to you), that people have been sentenced for inciting people to commit illegal acts (in spite of the first amendment) - usually this would require very direct promotion and it is a burden on the persecution to prove that your artistic expression did in fact incite people to commit illegal acts (i.e. no one has ever actually been sentenced for rap-lyrics about shooting cops).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.